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Christian Torres

Descartes V. Hume part one: Descartes Rationalism

Renee Descartes and David Hume two great thinkers who changed the way we look at
our word. They however had very opposing views on the study of epistemology. Epistemology
otherwise known as the study of knowledge was dissected in depth by both Hume and Descartes
in order to make discoveries on our existence in this world. While Hume used empiricism to
come to his own conclusions about human knowledge and existence. Descartes used his own
brand of rationalism to begin questioning the world around him.
Rather than use commonly held beliefs and opinions Descartes a mathematician decided
to use a more mathematical approach to prove his views on the world. This way of thinking came
from a more rational approach rather than a place of pure emotion and feeling. By doing this
Descartes and others began to question the differences between mere beliefs and true knowledge.
While a belief can be found to be untrue real knowledge is much more difficult to be categorized
as false. Descartes knew this and used this truth to begin to unravel the way he thought of the
So Descartes Armed with his technique of rational thought acquired from his years as a
mathematician. He began his quest for certainty. Plato was the originator of such rational
thought with regards to applying mathematical thought to philosophy. Plato even focused entire
curriculums on mathematics for his students as a prerequisite for his own philosophical thought
exercises. Descartes however took the interconnection between mathematics and philosophy to a
whole other level not seen before in the study of philosophy. Descartes began to use what is

The axiomatic method relied entirely on the certainty of the end of the argument being interdependent on the certainty of the beginning of said argument. Descartes thus. He wondered if philosophy would hold certain axiomatic postulates that were commonly found in subjects like geometry. He did this in order to simplify his work for in his mind if he can doubt the origin of belief he would not need to fully dismantle it by taking its piece by piece and questioning each individual part.known as the axiomatic method to begin to answer his queries about life itself. He especially wanted to make his ideas beyond doubt because during his time and after his time other philosophers would begin to question every single one of his ideas. This is done through his skepticism of his own opinions in order to strengthen his integrity in the sciences. Descartes took if you can’t beat them join them approach to these inquisitors. In his essays Meditations Descartes fully explains his quest for certainty with this method of systematic doubt of his very own beliefs. How would Descartes argue with such doubters? What was his secret weapon for these skeptics? Well. He did this by simply doubting his doubters. He then goes on to doubt the importance and accuracy of the senses in . This method of his known as the method of systematic doubt which uses truth values towards beliefs that cannot be reasonably doubted. These doubters and their own ideas would eventually form the basis for modern skepticism. He begins to question the very core of his own belief systems. wanted to make his philosophical arguments as beyond doubt as his work with mathematics. What is interesting about this approach is that Descartes uses this systematic doubt on himself. With this axiomatic method Descartes began to wonder if there was some kind of certainty within the realm of philosophy that he could bring to light. Descartes begins his essay by doubting all of his basic beliefs.

He then postulates that since the mind is the origin of thoughts then the demon does not exist.obtaining truth. . This Latin axiom in English means I think. He then has a eureka moment in that he finds that what is certainly left is God. in Descartes argument on epistemology truth must then be divine. Thus. He wonders if the dreams that experiences are comparable to the so called reality of these insane individuals. I am. He then creates the philosophical axiom cogito ergo sum. After much inner debate he comes to the conclusion that although his senses may not be real the fact that he is thinking is his proof of being. So within his essays Descartes not only denies his own existence to prove existence. He then wonders if he himself is delusional. Descartes even begins to question whether his sense of being can truly be trusted as he knows of many other men who are considered crazy that believe their own delusions. He then wonders if a demon is at play creating these truths that are really false in his mind. In his writing Descartes demonstrates that the mind unlike the physical body thinks and has thus. been proven by him. He also questions whether there is a true distinction between being awake and the dream world. With the idea that a demon may be in control Descartes begins to question his memories. He then investigates whether the colors that we see are truly there or are they just creations of the mind. He also seamlessly separates the body which does not think and is mechanical in nature from the mind. if there is no God. He further wonders what if left if there is no sense of being. therefore.