Descartes Vs. Berkeley 03/05/95

This essay Descartes Vs. Berkeley 03/05/95 has a total of 751 words and 4 pages.

Descartes vs. Berkeley 03/05/95

In Descartes' First Meditation, Descartes writes that he has
come to the conclusion that many of the opinions he held in his
youth are doubtful, and consequently all ideas built upon those
opinions are also doubtful. He deduces that he will have to
disprove his current opinions and then construct a new foundation
of knowledge if he wants to establish anything firm and lasting in
the sciences that is absolutely true. But rather than disprove
each of his opinions individually, Descartes attacks the principles
that support everything he believes with his Method of Doubt. The
Method of Doubt is Descartes' method of fundamental questioning in
which he doubts everything that there is the slightest reason to
doubt. It should be mentioned that Descartes does not necessarily
believe that everything he doubts is true. He does believe,
however, that whatever can not be doubted for the slightest reason
must be true.
Descartes spends Meditation One trying to disprove his
fundamental beliefs. First, Descartes doubts that his senses are
generally trustworthy because they are occasionally deceitful (eg.
a square tower may look round from far away). Also, because he
realizes that there are no definitive signs for him to distinguish
being awake from being asleep, he concludes that he can not trust
his judgement to tell him whether he is awake or asleep. But
asleep or awake, arithmetic operations still yield the same answer
and the self-preservation instinct still holds. To disprove these,
Descartes abandons the idea of a supremely good God like he has
believed in all his life and supposes an evil genius, all-powerful
and all-clever, who has directed his entire effort at deceiving
Descartes by putting ideas into Descartes' head.
With these three main doubts, each progressively more broad,
Descartes finally is satisfied that he has sufficiently disproved
his previous opinions. He now is ready to build a new foundation
of knowledge of a physical world (the real world) based on what
must absolutely be true.
Berkeley, however, would argue that Descartes is wasting his
time by trying to discover what must be absolutely true in the real
world. In his Dialogue One, Berkeley argues that there is no real
world, and that all sensible objects (those which can be
immediately perceived) exist onl

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