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Meditations on Fist Philosophy by Rene Descartes

Meditation I

In the first chapter, or “Meditation I”, Descartes laid a foundation for the entire book by reflecting on false assumptions he once held. The author said, “I realized how many false opinions I had accepted as true from childhood” (Descartes, 2008, p.12). Descartes emphasized the need to establish absolutely certain truth as a foundation for identifying truthful knowledge. He questions his senses and former beliefs and concludes that beliefs and senses are not reliable for creating a foundation for science.

Meditation II

In “Meditation II”, Descartes attempts to identify what is absolutely certain in the world. He concludes that his life experiences certainly do take place, and they can not be denied. Also, if everything else is false, the thinking process (the mind) does certainly exist. Therefore, Descartes is a “thinking thing” (p.19). He argues that the mind’s existence is more certain than the existence of the body. Intellect alone is the measure of perception, not senses or imagination.

Meditation III

“Meditation III” answers questions about origin of ideas and existence of God. Descartes asserts that every idea has a cause. Ideas can originate within an individual’s mind and outside of it. If a person has an idea of which he is not the cause, then something exists besides that person. Descartes claims that God exists since the idea of God can only have been caused by God. He shows that God’s existence is self-evident.

Meditation VI

In chapter VI, Descartes’ reflections about the mind being linked to something outside of it lead him to conclude that his body does exist. However, author believes that his intellect can exist without his body. Descartes emphasizes the need to get rid of beliefs the truthfulness of which is not confirmed by senses, memory, and understanding. Also, the philosopher believes that he discovered the proof of the reality of external material objects through given by God sensual perceptions for identification of essential properties of material things.

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