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Philosophers of the Enlightenment

Discuss each of the following with at least 150 words.

"I think, therefore I am"
Method of Doubt
George Berkeley and Empiricism

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Dear Student,
Hello and thank you for using Brainmass. The solution below should get you started. For the purpose of expansion on the information provided, you can use the listed online references used for your solution. Additionally, as with the case of the 'method of doubt', may I advise that you check the listed link that further expounds on the use of doubt as a validation of truth. Good luck!

OTA 105878/Xenia Jones

Cogito Ergo Sum

The above phrase is Descartes' Latin rendition of his oft quoted line, "I think therefore I am". For Descartes thought or the mechanism of the mind cannot be separated from the self. For him, the mind is what allows his existence - he perceives his body through his senses, he confronts the reality before him & the world as he knows it through the facilities of thought, perception, imagination & experience. He concludes without doubt that he is a 'thinking thing'. To compare his views of thought & the body he provides the 'wax argument' - a wax can come in various colours, shapes & sizes, texture & even smell. But a wax can melt into another shape or lose its texture & adopt a different colour. For Descartes, if he relied purely on his senses to ascertain what wax is based on given characteristics that must be exact, the very duty would make it impossible. His mind though will easily grasp the changes in the state of the wax & can ascertain that it is indeed what it is by deductive & analytical judgement doing away with perception. Descartes views the mind as a tool for reason which allows a person to attain an automatic sense of ...

Solution Summary

The solution is divided into 3 parts - the first part explains and discusses Descartes' "I think, therefore I am" concept, the second part explains Descartes 'Method of Doubt' and its significance in his philosophy and concept of self/truth, the third part explains the role of 18th century Irish Bishop George Berkeley in the development of the scientific method of empiricism. References are listed to allow room for expansion. A word version of the solution is attached for easy printing.