Intro To Philosophy
Essay Preview: Intro To Philosophy
Report this essay
1. What was the one thing that Descartes could not doubt? And why is Descartes Epistemological Skepticism a good thing?
RenÐ”© Descartes was a profound man of his time. He is known worldwide for his originality and his ripe ideas in the area of philosophy and his works are still read by many today. Descartes begins his adventure into his thoughts by searching for the un-doubtable. He is searching for a truth that in no way, shape, or form can be doubted and for absolute knowledge. However, this leaves Descartes with very little to find absolute knowledge or believe in. Descartes is forced to wipe a clean slate of all of his beliefs, thoughts, and opinions and see which are undoubtedly true. He comes to find that he can have doubt for almost everything he has known except for two items- he cannot doubt that he doubts, and he cannot doubt he (or his mind) exists. This is where his very popular phrase, “I think, therefore I am” came into existence.
Descartes was a skeptic. His skepticism was a good thing though because without being skeptical, it would not have allowed him to form such complex ideas and thoughts about absolute knowledge that he later wrote about in his Meditations.
2. For Berkeley, what is the meaning of ÐEsse es percipi?
Esse es Percipi translated from Latin means “to be is to be perceived”. According to George Berkeley, this is the most fundamental principle of idealistic philosophy. Berkeley argued that there is nothing besides these perceptions, or ideas. Berkeley notes that he can see, feel, touch, taste, and smell which give him a decent suspicion that items, odors, feelings, light and much more , do in fact may exist but, only in the mind. He says it is “nonsense to suppose that there are things outside the mind”.
3. Identify the three beliefs attacked by David Hume. And define empiricism.
Some philosophers have stated that Humes skepticism is the last word in philosophy. Hume followed in the steps of Berkeley and Locke but while outdoing both of them with his outrageous skepticism, he attacked three major beliefs. He attacked the principle of Universal Causation, the principle of Induction, and the External World.
The basic idea Universal Causation is that every event has its own separate cause or causes. Hume says causation is the central idea of all reasoning, meaning that all attempts to connect separate ideas together in a single belief. He shows that causation can not be a relation of ideas because we explain our experiences and events by appeal to other experiences and events. We do not know specific causes and effects through reasoning, but only through experience. An example, because you have seen the sun rise so many times, you assume that it will rise again tomorrow. If you had never seen the sun rise to begin with, you would not know what to expect, therefore showing that we learn reasoning by experience.
Hume also says we make predictions because of the principle of universal causation. In making such predictions, we presuppose a principle of induction. The principle of induction states that the laws of nature that have always been true in the past will continue to be true in the future.
Hume again attacks one more item-The External World. By The External World, Hume is talking about our belief in a physical world that exists independently of our impressions and ideas. Hume doesnt agree with any notions of substance and refers to them as unintelligible.
Hume was a Scottish empiricist. He was strongly influenced by other empiricists like John Locke and George Berkeley. Empiricism is a “theory which holds that the origin of all knowledge is sense experience”.
4. In the Matrix, does Neos experience in the loading program serve as a good example of Descartes theory or representative perception? If so, why?
During “The Matrix” (1999), a character named Neo is placed inside of a computer in a world that looks and feels completely authentic. He later realizes it is all in his mind. He is not actually in the “world” he believes he is in. Neos senses all show that the “world” he is in is completely real and trustworthy, however, he shortly finds out none of that is true.
This scene in The Matrix is a great example of Descartes theory of representative perception. In Descartes theory of representative