Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
intrroduction to Plato's works

intrroduction to Plato's works

Ratings: (0)|Views: 2 |Likes:
Published by Selorm Daniel
an introduction to the works of Plato
an introduction to the works of Plato

More info:

Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Selorm Daniel on Jan 25, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as DOC, PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less





 Discourse on the Method 
is Descartes’ attempt to explain his method of reasoning through eventhe most difficult of problems. He illustrates the development of this method through brief autobiographical sketches interspersed with philosophical arguments. This write up attempts todo a critical review of Descartes’
 Discourse on Methods
with special reference to Discourse 1 to5. We will begin with an exposition followed by an evaluation of the discourse. In reviewingDescartes' discourse, we should remember that what he offers in the Discourse is merely asummary sketch of the argument he presents in much more detail in the Meditations on FirstPhilosophy, published some years later. So those who are tempted to make quick objectionsshould first direct their attention to the later book.Discourse 1 contains “various considerations concerning the sciences.” Descartes begins by saying that everyone possesses “good sense,” the ability to distinguish truth from fiction.Therefore, it is not a lack of ability that obstructs people but their failure to follow the correct path of thought. The use of a method can upgrade an average mind above the rest, and Descartesconsidered himself a typical thinker improved by the use of his method. Descartes benefitedfrom a superior education, but he believed that book learning also clouded his mind. After leaving school, he set off traveling to learn from “the great book of the world” with an uncloudedmind. He comes to the conclusion that all people have a “natural light” that can be obscured byeducation and that it is as important to study oneself as it is to study the world.In part 2 of the Discourse, Descartes contemplates on the idea that the works of individuals aresuperior to those conceived by committee. This for him is because an individual’s work followsone plan, with all elements working toward the same end. He considers that the science helearned as a boy is likely flawed because it consists of the ideas of many different men from
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.
Finally in part 5, he moves from the discussion of a theory of light to theories about humananatomy. Descartes considers the fact that animals have many of the same organs as humans yetlack powers of speech or reason. He takes this difference to be evidence of humankind’s“rational soul.” He considers the mysterious connection of the soul to the body and concludesthat the soul must have a life outside the body. Therefore it must not die when the body dies.Because he cannot conceive of a way that the soul could perish or be killed, he is forced toconclude that the soul is immortal.
STRENGTHSOne strength of Descartes’ discourse is that Descartesis able to break away from the Aristotelian tradition.According to the Aristotelian tradition, the mind proper— what is exclusively "inside the head"—is limited to reasonand understanding. Sensory perception, imagination, will,and so on, make reference to things outside the mind andso are not purely mental. Rather, they are the link thatconnects us to the outside world. According to Aristotle,

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->