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According to Rene Descartes, in order to find a metaphysical absolute (which can also be
read as an idea that is essentially perfect and without any doubt), we must challenge
every belief that we have, however widely accepted that particular idea seems to be, so
that we would be able to see whether or not the facts met the test of certainty. Descartes
begins his method of doubt by arguing that everything we have come to know as a result
of our senses may not be what is actually the truth. He explains that senses are always
deceiving people and if this is true than we shouldnt be trusting of our senses in order to
find the truth or metaphysical absolute. For example, when someone holds up a pen in a
room filled with people, everybody sees the pen differently, some see it as a circle, some
only see a side view, we can never be certain that what we see is actually what we believe
it to be. Descartes explains that even when asleep, we do not know whether we are
dreaming or awake, because there are no signs that indicate that we are in a dream or in
reality. Descartes then goes on to say, that while there is a God who is all knowing and all
powerful who created us as we are, however, since God is omnipotent he might have
made us in a way that we can go wrong with the simplest of beliefs. He says that we
cannot be certain that God is supremely good and that he may be an evil genius who has
done everything in his power to deceive us. As a result of his Method of Doubt, Descartes
went on to question everything, he felt that all of his former beliefs had little credibility
and he doubted everything that he once knew. Although Descartes no longer believed
that what he knew was certain, he knew one thing for sure, that he exists, because in
order for him to be able to be deceived, he must exist. One must exist to be able to doubt
whether or not they exist. Descartes belief of the existence of the self became the premise
of his whole philosophy. He now had an undeniable truth that the needed as a starting
point for his science of reality.
2. In 1651, Thomas Hobbes published The Leviathan in which he said that the state is a
mechanical person (basically it is a machine) and by saying this he is criticizing the state.
He tries to avoid any metaphysical categories that dont relate to physical realities
(especially the mechanical realities of matter and motion). Hobbes admired deductive
science, which are sciences that deduce the workings of things from basic first principles
and from true definitions of the basic elements. Hobbes therefore approves a mechanistic
view of science and knowledge, one that models itself very much on the clarity and
deductive power exhibited in proofs in geometry. Since Hobbes was alive during the time
of the Scientific Revolution, he was very much influenced by his surrounding which
including the Euclidean deductive method of geometry, and he took advantage of all of
the new information that was provided as a result of the new findings of the thinkers of
the time. Deterministic Materialism is the view that ultimately everything in the universe
can be explained via material cause and effect sequences, even if those sequences include
some random factors and from this Hobbes was able to develop his philosophical system.
He argued that from a metaphysical perspective, one could then go on to explain
psychology of the people (and how they act in order to achieve what it is they desire) and
after understanding the peoples psychology, he could go on to grasp the idea of ethics
(what prevents people from getting what they want (if it is in fact unethical for them to
obtain it)). This led Hobbes to believe that the model of all behavior is the bodys
conformity to mechanical law. He argued that the behavior of material particles are
moving in accordance with simple mechanical laws.