A Demolition Of Descartes’s Meditations

A Demolition Of Descartes’s Meditations

Descartes's was wrong in more ways than one in his Meditations.

Rene Descartes's "Meditations on First Philosophy" is divided into six parts which serve as a broad demolition of his opinions in order to weed out false beliefs built on shaky ground by contemplating the reasoning behind them and from where the information is acquired. The philosopher's attempt renders him incapable of logically reconstructing his knowledge, for he refuses to define anything but himself with certainty, disregards his body's sensations and imaginations as false, misleading and useless, and he assumes there must be a higher power whose perfection consequently validates the existence of everything else despite the fact his proof is undeniably circular and therefore, incorrect (Descartes 533).

Descartes claims that original ideas cannot be untrue, that all understanding is good, and the abuse of free will is the cause of sin, yet he is unable to justify these beliefs without tracing them back to God. The method of doubt employed in all six meditations is heavily dependent on the philosopher's definition of 'clear and distinct ideas' as well as is his newly accepted facts which differentiate mind from body, understanding from imagination and extravagantly labels God as the epitome of perfection because objective reality follows formal reality as further explained by the causal principle (533). In summation, the "Meditations on First Philosophy" fail to prove Descartes's assertions that the mind can exist without the body, that God and/or being of a higher power truly exists and that clear and distinct thoughts exist in formal reality.

In Meditation One, Descartes accuses the senses of body – smell, taste, sound, touch, sight and so forth – of being unreliable, for they are "sometimes deceptive," and we should never "place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once" (533). These sensations blur the lines between the real world and dreams and thus, according to Descartes, "there are no definitive signs by which to distinguish being awake from being asleep" though in Meditation Six as he notices the considerable difference between the two being that "dreams are never joined by the memory with all the other actions of life, as is the case with those actions that occur when one is awake" (534) (559).

However, that is not all, for the very fact that one can notice the slightest distinction between reality and dreams demonstrates that the two realms truly consist of discernible qualities – with reality perceived and interacted with by primarily by the conscious mind whereas the unconscious thoughts take over during sleep. The very fact that the two still can be distinguished from one another is enough to confirm that they are separate, clear and distinct ideas. Although the two worlds share overlapping traits such as, "at the very least the colors from which they fashion it ought to be true... it is from these components, as if from true colors, that all those images of things that are in our thought are fashioned, be they true or false" (534).

Hence, it can be concluded that some component of reality is involved in creating the imaginary, including corporeal nature, so it does not make sense when Descartes finds "physics, astronomy, medicine and all other disciplines that are dependent upon the consideration of composite things" as "doubtful" (534). This point can easily be refuted in physics by the theory of gravity which is considered theoretical because it has not been confirmed as universally applicable, and some cite the case of helium balloons which float upwards instead of being pulled down by gravitational force. Nevertheless, even the gas helium floats up due to the effect of gravity which, undeniably, affects every single living and non-living thing on the face of this Earth.

Yet, despite our recognition of gravity as a very real and actual force, it's still a theory according to scientific ruling but does that make it doubtful? No, gravity does not stop existing just because it doesn't fit into our specific scientific rulings. When Descartes chooses to mistrust not only complex sciences like physics but to also throw suspicion on mathematics which he are "the simplest and most general things which...contain something certain and indubitable" in order to entertain the thought that an evil deceiver – not omniscient God, for He is said to be supremely good – is misleading him, then even simplistic concepts like "two plus three makes five" or "a square does not have more than four sides" become "subject to the suspicion of being false" (534). The philosopher expresses fear of being not "unlike a prisoner who enjoyed an imaginary freedom during his sleep... dread being awakened," and that "certain laziness brings me back to my customary way of living" (535).

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5 Things I Learned While Being A CNA

It's more than just $10 an hour. It is priceless.

If I asked you to wipe someone's butt for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to give a shower to a blind, mentally confused person for $10 would you do it? If I asked you to simply wear a shirt stained with feces that was not your own for 12+ hours for $10 would you do it?

You probably wouldn't do it. I do it every day. During the course of one hour I change diapers, give showers to those who can no longer bathe themselves, feed mouths that sometimes can no longer speak and show love to some that do not even know I am there all for ten dollars.

I am a certified nursing assistant.

My experiences while working as a CNA have made me realize a few things that I believe every person should consider, especially those that are in the medical field.

1. The World Needs More People To Care

Working as a nursing assistant is not my only source of income. For the past year I have also worked as a waitress. There are nights that I make triple the amount while working as a waitress for 6 hours than I make while taking care of several lives during a 12 hour shift. Don't get me wrong, being a waitress is not a piece of cake. I do, however, find it upsetting that people care more about the quality of their food than the quality of care that human beings are receiving. I think the problem with the world is that we need to care more or more people need to start caring.

2. I Would Do This Job For Free

One of my teachers in high school said "I love my job so much, if I didn't have to pay bills, I would do it for free." I had no clue what this guy was talking about. He would work for free? He would teach drama filled, immature high school students for free? He's crazy.

I thought he was crazy until I became a CNA. Now I can honestly say that this is a job I would do for free. I would do it for free? I'd wipe butts for free? I must be crazy.

There is a very common misconception that I am just a butt-wiper, but I am more than that. I save lives!

Every night I walk into work with a smile on my face at 5:00 PM, and I leave with a grin plastered on my face from ear to ear every morning at 5:30 AM. These people are not just patients, they are my family. I am the last face they see at night and the first one they talk to in the morning.

3. Eat Dessert First

Eat your dessert first. My biggest pet peeve is when I hear another CNA yell at another human being as if they are being scolded. One day I witnessed a co-worker take away a resident's ice cream, because they insisted the resident needed to "get their protein."

Although that may be true, we are here to take care of the patients because they can't do it themselves. Residents do not pay thousands of dollars each month to be treated as if they are pests. Our ninety-year-old patients do not need to be treated as children. Our job is not to boss our patients around.

This might be their last damn meal and you stole their ice cream and forced them to eat a tasteless cafeteria puree.

Since that day I have chosen to eat desserts first when I go out to eat. The next second of my life is not promised. Yes, I would rather consume an entire dessert by myself and be too full to finish my main course, than to eat my pasta and say something along the lines of "No, I'll pass on cheesecake. I'll take the check."

A bowl of ice cream is not going to decrease the length of anyone's life any more than a ham sandwich is going to increase the length of anyone's life. Therefore, I give my patients their dessert first.

4. Life Goes On

This phrase is simply a phrase until life experience gives it a real meaning. If you and your boyfriend break up or you get a bad grade on a test life will still continue. Life goes on.

As a health care professional you make memories and bonds with patients and residents. This summer a resident that I was close to was slowly slipping away. I knew, the nurses knew and the family knew. Just because you know doesn't mean that you're ready. I tried my best to fit in a quick lunch break and even though I rushed to get back, I was too late. The nurse asked me to fulfill my duty to carry on with post-mortem care. My eyes were filled with tears as I gathered my supplies to perform the routine bed bath. I brushed their hair one last time, closed their eye lids and talked to them while cleansing their still lifeless body. Through the entire process I talked and explained what I was doing as I would if my patient were still living.

That night changed my life.

How could they be gone just like that? I tried to collect my thoughts for a moment. I broke down for a second before *ding* my next call. I didn't have a moment to break down, because life goes on.

So, I walked into my next residents room and laughed and joked with them as I normally would. I put on a smile and I probably gave more hugs that night than I normally do.

That night I learned something. Life goes on, no matter how bad you want it to just slow down. Never take anything for granted.

5. My Patients Give My Life Meaning

My residents gave my life a new meaning. I will never forget the day I worked twelve hours and the person that was supposed to come in for me never showed up. I needed coffee, rest, breakfast or preferably all of the above. I recall feeling exasperated and now I regret slightly pondering to myself "Should I really be spending my summer like this?" Something happened that changed my view on life completely. I walked into a resident's room and said "Don't worry it's not Thursday yet", since I had told her on that Tuesday morning that she wouldn't see me until I worked again on Thursday. She laughed and exclaimed "I didn't think so, but I didn't want to say anything," she chuckled and then she smiled at me again before she said, "Well... I am glad you're still here." The look on her face did nothing less than prove her words to be true. That's when I realized that I was right where I needed to be.

Yes, I was exhausted. Yes, I needed caffeine or a sufficient amount of sleep. My job is not just a job. My work is not for a paycheck. My residents mean more to me than any amount of money.

I don't mind doing what I do for $10; because you can't put a price on love. The memories that I have with my patients are priceless.

Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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The Ultimate Fall-Themed Bucket List To Make The Most Of Your Autumn

Here's a list of my bucket list for the next couple months.


Fall is my all time favorite time of the year! October through December are the best months because the weather is amazing and all of the holidays are full of family and fun. There is just something about the fall air that makes the world so enjoyable. Pumpkin spice and football games are just a few of the beautiful things autumn has to offer.

Here are the top places my friends and I have been talking about doing these next couple weeks (and I guess we will see if we end up making it to all these places and doing these things)...

1. 31 nights of Halloween

31 nights of Halloween is new this year to Freeform, and I could not be more excited! 31 days is so much better than the usual 13 days.

2. Haunted House

Who doesn't love being terrified? Haunted houses are always so fun and the time leading up to it is always fun as well. Haunted houses and scary corn mazes are the best part of October.

3. A pumpkin patch

You can't have fall without pumpkins, and the pumpkin patch is the best place for that.

4. Carve the perfect pumpkin and roast the seeds

I don't remember the last time I carved a pumpkin, I am sure my skills have gotten a little better. Growing up the best part about carving pumpkins was always roasting the seeds after and putting cinnamon and sugar on them.

5. Halloween party

Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts about October because for one night you can be whoever you want. The decorations at Halloween parties are always so cute and creative as well.

6. Try everything pumpkin spice

This time of the year is most famous for everything becoming pumpkin flavor from coffee to ice cream and everything in between.

7. Decorating 

I love decorating and seeing all the different decorations for fall and halloween everywhere.

8. K-State football game & tailgate

Nothing is better than a nice crisp day cheering on the Wildcats to a victory in the Bill.

9. Shopping

Shopping is my favorite thing to do no matter the season, but shopping for fall clothes is the most fun. Finding cute sweaters and scarves to layer your outfits is my favorite.

These are just a few of the many things I want to do before it is too late and hopefully this gave you and your friends some ideas on what to do this fall!


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