An analysis of a passage in meditations on first philosophy by ren descartes

While examining a piece of wax, one has certain ideas, ideas initially thought to have come from the senses, but all that can be ascertained through the senses can be proven to be false. Its colour, shape, and size are manifest.

An analysis of a passage in meditations on first philosophy by ren descartes

First Meditation: skeptical doubts

Table of Contents Summary The Meditator reflects that he has often found himself to be mistaken with regard to matters that he formerly thought were certain, and resolves to sweep away all his pre-conceptions, rebuilding his knowledge from the ground up, and accepting as true only those claims which are absolutely certain.

All he had previously thought he knew came to him through the senses. Through a process of methodological doubt, he withdraws completely from the senses. At any moment he could be dreaming, or his senses could be deceived either by God or by some evil demon, so he concludes that he cannot trust his senses about anything.

From the SparkNotes Blog Various scientific considerations[ edit ] Descartes begins by allowing himself some wit: Good sense is, of all things among men, the most equally distributed; for every one thinks himself so abundantly provided with it, that those even who are the most difficult to satisfy in everything else, do not usually desire a larger measure of this quality than they already possess.
Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy Published by Cambridge University Press.

Ultimately, however, he realizes that he cannot doubt his own existence. In order to doubt or to think, there must be someone doing the doubting or thinking. Deceived as he may be about other things, he cannot help but conclude that he exists. Since his existence follows from the fact that he is thinking, he concludes that he knows at least that he is a thing that thinks.

He further reasons that he comes to know this fact by means of his intellect, and that the mind is far better known to him than the body. He wonders what else he might be able to know by means of this sure method.

An analysis of a passage in meditations on first philosophy by ren descartes

In order to be certain that his clear and distinct perceptions are indubitable, however, he first needs to assure himself that God exists and is not deceiving him. He reasons that the idea of God in his mind cannot be created by him since it is far more perfect than he is.

Only a being as perfect as God could cause an idea so perfect. Thus, the Meditator concludes, God does exist. And because he is perfect, he would not deceive the Meditator about anything. Error arises not because the Meditator is deceived but because the will often passes judgment on matters that the limited intellect does not understand clearly and distinctly.

Secure in the knowledge that his clear and distinct perceptions are guaranteed by God, the Meditator investigates material things.


He clearly and distinctly perceives that the primary attribute of body is extension and that the primary qualities of body are size, shape, breadth, etc. He also derives a second proof for the existence of God from the fact that, while bodies are essentially extended, God is essentially existent.

A God that does not exist is as inconceivable as a body that is not extended. Because the essence of body is extension and the essence of mind is thought, the Meditator concludes that the two are completely distinct. He decides also that while he can clearly and distinctly perceive the primary qualities of material things, he has only a confused and obscure perception of secondary qualities.

This is because the senses are meant to help him get around in the world, not to lead him to the truth.Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Together with Meditations on First Philosophy, was the first precept, which states, in Descartes.

A particular passage written in Meditations on First Philosophy known as the wax passage shall be examined. Descartes' thought process shall be followed, and the central point of his argument discussed.

Descartes's "Meditations on First Philosophy," the fundamental and originating work of the modern era in Western philosophy, is presented here in Donald Cress's completely revised edition of his well-established translation, bringing this version even closer to Descartes's original, while.

Meditations on First Philosophy the omission of a brief passage that seems to present more difficulty than it is worth.—In his title for this work, Descartes is following a tradition (started by Aristotle) which uses ‘first philosophy’ as a label for metaphysics.

An analysis of a passage in meditations on first philosophy by ren descartes

Meditations René Descartes First Meditation First Meditation. From a general summary to chapter summaries to explanations of famous quotes, the SparkNotes Meditations on First Philosophy Study Guide has everything you need to ace quizzes, tests, and essays.

Meditations on First Philosophy Quotes. ― Rene Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy. 36 likes. Like “Some years ago I was struck by the large number of falsehoods that I had accepted as true in my childhood, and by the highly doubtful nature of the whole edifice that I had subsequently based on them.

I realized that it was.

Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes