Share
Explore BrainMass

Descartes

HELP! I have just read the First Meditation where Descartes talks about the possibility that we are all dreaming....this stuff is soooooooo confusing! Even supposing that I might be dreaming, what sorts of truths are not doubtful? If anyone is good at this kinda stuff could you explain it to someone like me who is totally confused. Thanks!

Solution Preview

Hi There,
<br>
<br>I think I may have found something that will help simplify things for you. In particular, pay special attention to paragraph 3, under section 1.2 Analysis, as it specifically discusses dreaming.
<br>
<br>Please read the following summary:
<br>
<br>1.1 Summary
<br>
<br> The First Meditation, subtitled "What can be called into doubt," opens with the Meditator reflecting on the number of falsehoods he has believed during his life and on the subsequent faultiness of the body of knowledge he has built up from these falsehoods. He has resolved to sweep away all he thinks he knows and to start again from the foundations, building up his knowledge once more on more certain grounds. He has seated himself alone, by the fire, free of all worries so that he can demolish his former opinions with care.
<br>
<br> The Meditator reasons that he need only find some reason to doubt his present opinions in order to prompt him to seek sturdier foundations for his knowledge. Rather than doubt every one of his opinions individually, he reasons that he might cast them all into doubt if he can doubt the foundations and basic principles upon which his opinions are founded.
<br>
<br> Everything that the Meditator has accepted as most true he has come to learn from or through his senses. He acknowledges that sometimes the senses can deceive, but only with respect to objects that are very small or far away, and that our sensory knowledge on the whole is quite sturdy. The Meditator acknowledges that insane people might be more deceived, but that he is clearly not one of them and needn't worry himself about that.
<br>
<br> However, the Meditator realizes that he is often convinced when he is dreaming that he is sensing real objects. He feels certain that he is awake and sitting by the fire, but reflects that often he has dreamed this very sort of thing and been wholly convinced by it. Though his present sensations may be dream images, he suggests that even dream images are drawn from waking experience, much like paintings in that respect. Even when a painter creates an imaginary creature, like a mermaid, the composite parts are drawn from real things--women and fish, in the case of a mermaid. And even when a painter creates something entirely ...

$2.19