Rene Descartes First Meditation Discussion
Introduction to Philosophy: Second Assignment • • Answer all 3 questions. Each answer should be between 400 and 450 words. The assignment is due Monday April 14th. Please email me a world-file. Please include your name on the attached word file. Answer 3 questions as clearly, precisely, and as fully as you can within the allotted word count. To do well on this assignment it is important that you show direct engage with the texts we have read. While you should not quote extensively (though you should include short quotes), your answer should not be removed from the specifics of the arguments made in the texts we have read. Assignments that do not show direct engagement with the texts will do very poorly. Given that we are all at home, there is increased temptation to cheat, to look at Wikipedia or other on-line sources. Here is my advice to you: Don’t. To put it plainly: Do not look at any secondary sources. I am very aware of this problem and I will be checking your assignments in several ways to see if they included material that is not your own. If they do, you will not only fail the assignment, you will automatically fail the course. So don’t do it. 1. What is Descartes’ goal in the first Meditation? How do the dream and evil genius arguments contribute to this goal? Make sure to explain to me how these arguments work. 2. Clifford argues that ‘It is wrong always, everywhere and for anyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence’. What kind of wrong is Clifford talking about here, and why is it wrong to believe on insufficient evidence? In giving this answer, make sure to discuss the ship-example. 3. James argues that in the case of God one has the right to believe even when one does not have sufficient evidence. What is James argument for this? Make sure to explain how the concepts of ‘intellectual grounds’ and ‘genuine options’ bear on James’ argument that we have a right to believe in God. Surname 1 Name Instructor Name: Course Name: Due Date: 14th April 2021 Rene Descartes’ First Meditation, Rene Descartes’ first meditation main objective was to explore the concept of foundationalism. This implies that Rene Descartes’ aimed at completely breaking down all his old belief system and further develop a concrete foundation that lacks in sciences and that which could be applied to sciences from unshakable or unquestionable point without being false. Therefore, Rene Descartes’ has actually come to the realization that whatever methods he was utilizing in differentiating truths from falsehood have all been faulty. Therefore, Rene Descartes’ can no longer be able to tell which beliefs actually hold the ultimate truth. Rene Descartes’ goes further to elaborate the idea of doubt and how it plays a fundamental role in what humans perceive or believe. The philosopher tries to decipher doubt by critiquing various basics of knowledge and the procedural nature of the doubt. Rene Descartes’ intends to inform the knowledge seeker that doubt can exist in two categories. First, doubt can be about human senses in their normal employment. For example, the issue of “square tower” or “bent sticks” as from the excerpt .Secondly, Rene Descartes’ portrays doubt to be about senses in actual unquestionable employment. For example, the philosopher outline that “I have a body; I’m sitting near the fire”. The key argument clearly indicates to the knowledge seeker that even for obvious sense, evidence can still be doubtful. This implies that such thoughts even override sciences which are usually empirical and highly mathematicized. Thirdly, Rene Descartes’ aimed at ensuring the knowledge seeker understands that there is even doubt about evidence for a-priori sciences such as mathematics. For example, Rene Surname 2 Descartes’ states that there is a possibility that God might influence one’s mistakes meaning that there is a possibility of existence of God as a Supreme being or God might not be existing all together. This implies a human ability to commit a mistake is absolutely present due to the fact that his/her origin would have been imperfect from the beginning. In the dream argument, Rene Descartes’ believes that in his dreams the senses are usually deceiving. This implies that there are no actual points that can distinguish dreaming from wakefulness. Therefore, if he doubts as to whether he is not dreaming at the moment, he should not trust his senses. The dream and evil genius arguments by Rene Descartes’ contribute to this goal in that in the “evil genius” Rene Descartes’ creates the hypothesis of a supreme being who is God portrayed as the evil genius whose key role is to deceive him that only blasphemy could attribute to God. This hypothesis is important since it represents Rene Descartes’ radical phase of his perspective about doubt. It outlines the aspect of insulation of doubt bringing out the point that indeed doubt is methodical in nature. Reason and Faith:-The Ethics of Belief Clifford argument that “it is always wrong everywhere and for everyone to believe without sufficient evidence.” In short, Clifford thought is that not having sufficient evidence is unethical and therefore one should not have beliefs. Clifford’s thought is that it is immoral for one to have beliefs without sufficient weight of evidence. For example, in Clifford’s case of the “Shipowner Case”, Cliffords said that “The owner has a ship, and he suspects that this ship is not suitable for sea travel but it has completed several voyages in the past with minimal failure. Therefore, this thought made the Shipowner clear all doubts and ultimately convinced people that the ship was safe. He took the migrants to the sea by the Ship; it unfortunately sunk and all passengers were killed”.According to Clifford, although the owner sincerely believed that his ship was safe and harmless, he had no right to believe the scarce evidence before him. The Surname 3 shipowner’s behavior was indeed immoral, but this is because his beliefs were wrong. Some beliefs are morally acceptable, while others are not. Those that are morally embraced are those beliefs that are fully supported by enough evidence. The main argument of Clifford’s paper is that beliefs should not be believed based on insufficient evidence. Clifford believes that no matter how much confidence you have in an object or thing unless there is evidence to prove your credibility, you should not believe that it is true. Besides, Clifford believes that we should never dispel our doubts. If we convince ourselves that the evidence is insufficient, we will “weaken” our self-control and the ability to weigh the evidence. Some decisions are forced or can be avoided, important or irrelevant. Now, when Clifford denies the belief that there is no evidence to avoid making mistakes, he fails to notice that certain decisions are mandatory and significant. In this case, not making a decision means making a decision. Failure to choose will result in the loss of truth or goodness that could have been suffered. Clifford said that if there is no enough evidence, the ethics of faith out of a certain belief should not be followed and adhered to. It is clear faith is like a legacy passed down from generation to generation, but according to Clifford, he said that before proceeding and putting it into practice, we need to stop and seriously consider the evidence we have and the beliefs that will manifest. Clifford says that the smallest faith, no matter how trivial it may seem, if we still believe that there sufficient evidence applicable, we will prove that as long as there is anything that promotes our faith, we will maintain and nurture it to grow. Faith will become so strong that believers will now embark on the path of embracing beliefs. William James The Will to Believe The “Ethics of belief” by Clifford outlined that humans are not required to have beliefs especially when there is a lack of evidence to support the belief. However, in the “Will to Surname 4 Believe”, philosopher William James perspective is that the option to be religious or religious faith is exactly the kind of option that cannot be made based on the availability of evidence but it is the kind of choice that should be made regardless of evidence or lack of it. James describes religious beliefs as realistic-Meaning that religion is equally important to the individual who has belief in religion since it holds the potential of making their general life happier. William James believes that it is not immoral to believe even without practical data to support the belief. William James’s perspective is that in certain circumstances it is rationally upright that a person’s non-rational personality will determine the person’s beliefs. William James elaborates that if the choice to believe or not to believe is live, then all humans are at freedom to utilize their free will to believe in anything of choice. According to William James, a genuine choice or option is that one whose hypothesis creates hope in the believer in that there is no option of not making. It makes the choice inevitable such that the option to withhold one’s judgment is equal as the denunciation of the same belief and the stakes are high. Therefore, based on the concept of “genuine opinion”, William James’s argument is intended to teach the knowledge seeker the ability to manage risk to believe in one belief or another. In this concept, William James’s key objective was to defend the right to embrace a believing attitude in religious matters. An example of a genuine option, in this case, would be the consideration of religious beliefs. Through his thinking of the aspect of practicality, William James justifies religious beliefs by utilizing his hypothetical venturing as proof to support the hypothesis of truth. Therefore, this concept enables a believer to have a belief in a god and demonstrate its existence by whatever the belief brings to one’s life. According to William James, based on the concept of intellectual grounds obviously, then our non-intellectual life does not influence our beliefs. James considers intellect to be the central Surname 5 function of human consciousness in making choices. According to William James, it is the ability to make sense of reality through abstract concepts. Surname 6 Works Cited Clifford, William K. “The ethics of belief.” Readings in the Philosophy of Religion (1879): 246. Descartes, René, Elizabeth Sanderson Haldane, and George Robert Thomson Ross. Meditations on first philosophy in focus. Psychology Press, 1993. James, William. The will to believe. Alex Catalogue, 2000.
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