- 2018年05月17日19:15 来源：小站整理
- 参与（2） 阅读（1050）
René Descartes was a French philosopher,mathematician and writer who spent most of his life in the Dutch Republic. Hehas been dubbed the father of modern philosophy, and much subsequent Western philosophyis a response to his writings, which are studied closely to this day.
Modern foundationalism was initiated byFrench Enlightenment philosopher René Descartes. In his Meditations, Descarteschallenged the contemporary principles of philosophy by arguing that everythinghe knew he learnt from or through his senses. He used various arguments tochallenge the reliability of the senses, citing previous errors and thepossibilities that he was dreaming or being deceived by an Evil Demon.Descartes attempted to establish the secure foundations for knowledge to avoidskepticism. He contrasted the information provided by senses, which is unclearand uncertain, with the truths of geometry, which are clear and distinct.Geometrical truths are also certain and indubitable; Descartes thus attemptedto find truths which were clear and distinct because they would be indubitablytrue and a suitable foundation for knowledge. His method was to question all ofhis beliefs until he reached something clear and distinct that was indubitablytrue. The result was his cogito ergo sum – 'I think therefore I am', or thebelief that he was thinking – as his indubitable belief suitable as afoundation for knowledge. This resolved Descartes' problem of the Evil Demon –the possibility that he was being deceived by an Evil Demon, rendering all ofhis beliefs about the external world false. Even if his beliefs about theexternal world were false, his beliefs about what he was experiencing werestill indubitably true, even if those perceptions do not relate to anything inthe world.
Test Point – TPO28L1
Now, for a very different view, let’s turnto another philosopher—René Descartes.
Descartes thought that you have to go muchdeeper to find the foundations. He believed that our senses are not to betrusted. So he wanted to find a more solid foundation for knowledge. He beganwith what has come to be called methodological doubt. And when we saymethodological doubt, well ... Descartes believed that everything should bequestioned, that is, approach it with doubt and that if you could find onething that cannot be false, that one thing would serve as a foundation for allother knowledge claims.
So unlike John Locke, Descartes doubts thatknowledge comes to him from his senses. He points out that at some time oranother, everyone has been deceived by their senses. We have all hadexperiences where our senses have been wrong—illusions, perhaps, mirages. Whendriving in a car on a hot summer day, you may see what looks like shimmeringwater on the road, which, as science tells us, is really just a mirage, anillusion caused by the heating of the air. Our senses are wrong, they’vedeceived us. And Descartes thinks that since our senses can deceive us, weought not to take for granted that what they tell us is really true. That’s thefirst step in his methodological doubt.
From there he wonders, well, ok, I candoubt my senses, but can I doubt that I am sitting in this room? Can it seemthat we are not really here? That we are somewhere else? He conceives that mostof us would know that we are sitting in the room. But then he says, well,couldn’t I just be dreaming? He’s had dreams that were so real that he thoughthe was awake when in fact he was actually asleep. And this is another good point.It’s really hard to be sure that you are not actually dreaming. Yet anotherproof for Descartes that we can’t always trust what our senses are apparentlytelling us. We could be dreaming. And there’s really no good way to prove thatwe are not.