Descartes philosophy of 'How much We Know'. How can you be sure as Descartes wanted to be about what you know?

Essay by babyjohn122High School, 12th gradeA+, May 2004

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Descartes epistemology rests heavily upon his methods of doubt and foundationalism. He insists that the customary routes to knowledge, "the senses," are unreliable therefore we have good reason to doubt knowledge gained in such a fashion. Obviously he doesn't expect us to reject all we know, "sincere doubt," instead we must employ hypothetical doubt when pertaining to true knowledge. Believing as Plato, that sense perception and reason deceive us and that man cannot have real knowledge of nature. The only thing that he believed he could be certain of was that he was doubting, leading to his famous phrase "Cogito ergo sum," (I think, therefore I am).

As for us human beings, there may be things that are in our mind, which is not there because one authority or another may have put it there. This may be the case for some issues, for the way we think, for the actions we do, and for the choices we make.

Authorities somewhat caused the way we perceive things, as it effects our choices, and as well as our knowledge. Part of which, we may learn something different if we had no parents, friends, and teachers, because we, human beings, are always influenced and manipulated in the way we "think." Almost everything Descartes has learned in school has been presented as "true" on the basis of authority-the authoirty of the church or the authority of an expert. Unwilling to take knowledge about the world "on faith," Descartes sets out to doubt everything. If he finds something undoubtable, he concludes, that will become the foundation on which he will build knowledge base. It is a given fact, that whatever surrounds us is what we become, because human beings are always influenced.

Descartes point is right that authorities do change the way...