Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes – Book Report/Review Example

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The paper "Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes" is a perfect example of a philosophy book review. Descartes is most known for his  statement “ I think, therefore I am, ” which is an idea he investigates to great extent in his book Meditations on First Philosophy. The statement is the result of an earlier discourse in which Descartes called into question all of the assumptions he’ d come to believe as a result of the philosophical thought of his day. In search of a higher version of the truth, Descartes felt it was necessary to question every assumption that had even the shadow of a doubt.

Through this questioning process, he demonstrated how thought rather than observation was really the right foundation for knowledge. His idea of discovering truths about the world was defined by whether he had a clear and distinct perception of them and that was sufficient for knowledge. However, the idea that knowledge can be defined by a “ clear and distinct perception” is foiled by its own dependence on the senses which is the ideas that he explores in his meditations.

Descartes argues his way out of this idea by indicating that in order to fool a mind, a mind must first exist. “ But there is I know not what being, who is possessed at once of the highest power and the deepest cunning, who is constantly employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me. Doubtless, then, I exist, since I am deceived; and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I shall be conscious that I am something” (Descartes, 1989).

In his arguments regarding the nature and existence of God, Descartes says that it does not matter whether we are dreaming or not because whatever our intellect tells us is true is, in fact, true. This directly contradicts what he said earlier regarding dreams being little more than impressions that did not exist and did not necessarily represent what was true. As a result, it is hard to view Descartes’ logic as sound and believable, but it does introduce a great deal of room for thought.

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