various eras. Keeping in mind what he has learned of logic, geometry, and algebra, he sets downthe following rules: (1) to never believe anything unless he can prove it himself; (2) to reduceevery problem to its simplest parts; (3) to always be orderly in his thoughts and proceed from thesimplest part to the most difficult; and (4) to always, when solving a problem, create a long chainof reasoning and leave nothing out. He immediately finds this method effective in solving problems that he had found too difficult before. Still fearing that his own misconceptions might be getting in the way of pure reason, he decides to systematically eliminate all his wrongopinions and use his new method exclusively.In part 3, Descartes puts forth a provisional moral code to live by while rethinking his views: (1)to obey the rules and customs of his country and his religion and never take an extreme opinion;(2) to be decisive and stick with his decisions, even if some doubts linger; (3) to try to changehimself, not the world; and (4) to examine all the professions in the world and try to figure outwhat the best one is. Descartes’ moral rules demonstrate both his distrust of the material worldand his confidence in his mind’s ability to overcome it.In relation to part 4 of his Discourse, Descartes offers proofs of the existence of the soul and of God. Contemplating the nature of dreams and the unreliability of the senses, he becomes awareof his own process of thinking and realizes it is proof of his existence: I think, therefore I exist(
Cogito ergo sum
). He also concludes that the soul is separate from the body based on theunreliability of the senses as compared with pure reason. His own doubts lead him to believe thathe is imperfect, yet his ability to conceive of perfection indicates that something perfect mustexist outside of him—namely, God. He reasons that all good things in the world must stem fromGod, as must all clear and distinct thoughts.