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How Descartes dealt with skepticism

Why does Descartes think that to philosophize is to refute skepticism"?

The short answer is that Descartes thinks knowledge is possible. Skepticism denies that knowledge is possible.

Descartes' methodical doubt in the Meditations, is a method or a means by which he gains certainty, not the conclusion of his inquiry.

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Skepticism doubts in a fundamental way the possibility of true or certain knowledge. And since for Descartes the certainty of knowledge is possible, he cannot be a skeptic. The Cartesian methodical doubt questions the legitimacy of human knowing without doubting its possibility. Theology for instance, in his eyes, lacks such legitimacy because its truths are arrived at through revelation and not through the powers of human reasoning alone. For such truths, according to him, "it was necessary to have some extraordinary assistance from above, and to be more than a mere man". This means that such truths are "above our intelligence". He said that he was educated in one of the best schools of his time but was still "embarrassed with many doubts and errors".

His aim then was to legitimize human knowledge through clear and ...

Solution Summary

Was Descartes a skeptic? How did he refute skepticism? How did Descartes try to legitimize human knowledge? How does explain progress in human knowledge? These are some of questions addressed here.