Critical thinking: Philosophy Assignments | Custom Essay Help

you have read that because Descartes began his argument by doubting everything that we think we know he wanted to ground is idea of certainty in the indisputable certainty of our own thinking ego. From this point forward Descartes is able to reconstruct the entirety of reality based on the thinking subject. He claims to show that God is not, nor could He be, a deceiver (based on Descartes’ ontological argument), and that as long as we reduce all complex thoughts and perceptions to their most simple and individual parts we are guaranteed certainty of knowledge of external reality (he refers to this as clarity and distinctness).

On the other hand, the empiricists argue against Cartesian rationalism by showing that reason alone can tell us nothing about reality and that knowledge does not depend upon a thinking subject. In fact the empiricists call into question the whole idea that for knowledge to be true it must be certain. They question whether true knowledge (that is deductively certain knowledge), can tell us anything about the world. If Descartes is correct, according to the empiricists, true knowledge must be guaranteed by some internal and self-certain process, however, this would limit all true knowledge to that which is a priori (known without the need of experience). On the other hand since all knowledge that purports to tell us something about the world is, at best, only probably true (it is true until and unless proven otherwise), the problem we face is that knowledge is either certainly true but empty of content, or it is only probably true but meaningful.

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Take a position concerning whether you think knowledge can be derived from reason alone or is it the result of direct experience. Please take any of the arguments we covered in the chapter and be sure to make clear, (1) Its main points and, (2) tell me what its strong points are, and (3) subject it to a thought experiment of your own design (that means, don’t copy from the book), to show whether the argument is reasonable or not according to what you learned in module one. Finally, if it is reasonable, talk a little about why it convinces you, and if you believe it does not, say why not (use just a few sentences here or at most a short summary type paragraph).

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