Explore BrainMass

Descartes' First and Second Meditations; Doubt and Thinking

What is Descartes doing in his first and second meditations? How does he come to consider as false everything which offers only the slightest reason for doubt and how does he come to the conclusion that he is a thinking thing?

Solution Preview

Rene Descartes (1596-1650) One of the most well known philosophers and the most famous French philosopher. Everyone has heard his phrase "I think, therefore, I am". Descartes chief works include; Discourse on the method of Rightly Conducting the Reason and Seeking the Truth in the Sciences, Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Meditations of First Philosophy, Principles of Philosophy and The Passions of the Soul

Descartes on Method
If good sense (common sense) is humankind's most equitably divided endowment, then why are there enormous differences between humans with regard to how much they have discovered?
Descartes says that different humans use their reason in different ways and therefore the important questions becomes; what is the correct way to use one's reason? Or which is the right method for using one's reason?

Mathematics as the model for Descartes' method- Four rules
1. Never to accept anything as true unless I recognize it to be evidently such
2. divide each of the difficulties which I encountered into as many parts as possible
3. think in and orderly fashion, beginning with the things which were the simpliest and easiest to understand and gradually and by degree reaching toward more complex knowledge.
4. make enumerations as complete, and reviews ...

Solution Summary

Explanation of Descartes' First and Second Meditations; Doubt and Thinking things.