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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There's A Psychological Reason Why You Absolutely Hate Group Projects

It's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

As a sophomore high schooler, I'm ready to start a petition to end all school projects. Given the chance, I would throw group projects in particular off the face of Earth. I'm a fairly open and social person, and I enjoy being a part of groups. However, what I've noticed the past few weeks is that people are never there when you need them. People are unreliable and don't contribute to these group projects, and enough is enough. It's about time I need to stop picking up after people, and it's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

In every group project, you encounter many types of people, and it seems impossible to get everyone to work together. We all have different schedules, which makes meeting up an issue. There are often times when group members end up "sick" or "are busy." To have someone show up is, in fact, a miracle.

Not only that, but not all group members contribute equally, despite every promises to work equally. One person always ends up doing more, if not, all the work.

And often, you find yourself surrounded by people that you dislike.

So you start to wonder, what's the point of all this? If adults hate working in teams, then why are they making us do so as well? If they want us to learn, then why aren't we learning anything?

Group projects have such a bad reputation, and often times, we fail to see its intent and purpose. I constantly hear people complain about the situation, blaming the teacher for this assignment. But, perhaps, we're at fault for doing poorly on our group projects.

Group projects are examples of diffusion of responsibility, the phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to take action in the midst of a group due to the belief that others will take on the responsibility, also known as the bystander effect. These two theories intertwine so tight that they are used interchangeably at times. Both state that when more people are around, the less inclined an individual is to do anything about a situation, which lessens the burden on the individual.

There are factors that influence the diffusion of responsibility. An individual may either feel unqualified to take action, or an individual simply doesn’t know what’s going on. Additionally, an individual is less inclined to help unfamiliar faces.

In the context of group projects, people are not as motivated to work towards a common goal. Naturally, people will rely on others to take on their responsibility. Often times, this will put the weight of the project on one person, causing them to do much more work than necessary.

Since group projects usually result in a collective grade, there’s no individual accountability. People tend to pull back, leaving others with more workload. Your individual responsibility doesn’t feel as important anymore because you believe that the others on your team are responsible as well.

A couple of weeks ago, we were assigned a video project. The minimum number per group was two and the highest four. I originally wanted to keep the group small, for I was afraid that I'll end up stressing more. My friend and I started out as a group of two, and we added somebody else upon consideration. And at the last possible moment, the group of three became a group of four.

I was not happy with the arrangement. To be frank, I was disappointed with everyone. I had expected better work ethics, work quality and most importantly, better signs of responsibility.

Like I predicted, I stressed over everyone else's work. People just simply didn't feel the incentive to put in effort, seeing that there will be others that will take over their part for them (which was true). Being the "control freak" of the group, I was the one nuisance that annoyed people into doing their work. But where's the motivation in that? They're only working so that I could stop bothering them. Deep down, they knew that I'd much rather do the entire project by myself than to work with them any more.

Another reason why group projects are despised is that you can’t express your individuality in a group project. There's pressure to not speak out for what you want in fear of being judged. Often times, your opinions or ideas don't align with what others are saying. Everything is subjective. What you think is good is someone else’s bad. What you believe is urgent is probably the opposite of others. Whether you’re working with one person or as a team of five, you have to compromise. And often times, you have to sacrifice something you want in order to make everyone else happy.

And as much as we hate to admit it, in the end, it is everyone's fault.

The purpose of a group project is to get everyone to work and learn something new as a team. Teachers assign group projects in hopes that people will learn from others and utilize each other's strengths to create a masterpiece. Though this seems like a good idea theoretically, it’s not the case in most situations.

But also keep in mind that in the end, it is your project. You're responsible, and you have to be able to learn how to lead. You have to be able to work together as a team, despite the challenges and the clash of opinions. So if you end up being a disappointment to your peers, they’ll do damage control to save themselves from a failing grade. Although it may work out for you, not being responsible for your actions will cause hostility and grudges. Your partners will never really look at you the same ever again.

And if you are the one who is driven insane due to the weight of the entire assignment on your shoulders, I applaud you. Though the stress is practically crushing you now, it'll eventually pass. Take a deep breath because you got this. Though others may never admit it, you are the backbone and deserve the world.

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7 Tips For Interview Success

Interviews happen at all stages of our lives!

Interviews can be really daunting, especially if you've never had a professional interview. We all remember the nerves we had the first time we interviewed and it can be difficult to feel confident at times. However, interviews and talking to people you've never met are an important part of life. Since we will all go through an interview at some point in our lives, here are some tips for success!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

An interviewer can easily tell if you have prepared for the interview. Even if you are nervous, it is obvious you put thought into your answers if they are clear, concise and answer the questions being asked.

2. Always have a resume.

Don't just have one copy, have multiple! You would be surprised at how many people don't bring resumes to an interview, so this will set you apart and make you appear more professional. Make sure to have someone you trust check out your resume before you print it!

3. Dress professionally.

Google business professional dress! For my friends that are men, khakis are not business professional. Make sure your jacket and pants match in order to make an excellent impression! It's never fun to lose points for something as simple as dress.

4. Research the organization or industry.

Doing your research is key to thriving in any interview. The second an interviewer hears you mention specific goals, values or the mission of the organization or company, you get bonus points. When people research the company, interviewers can tell that they actually care about the organization and want the job or position.

5. Tie your answers into the position you want.

A big mistake in interviews is answering the questions without tying them to the organization or why you are a good fit for that position.

6. Ask for contact information.

Another way to make yourself stand out is to ask for the emails or contact information of your interviewer(s) at the end of the interview. Sending a follow up email can be the difference between a good and great candidate.

7. Know how you will add value to the organization.

Be prepared to answer questions about how you will add value to the organization and what unique skills you have! There is only one you, so don't be afraid to show people that!

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