Free «The philosophical works of Descartes» Essay Sample

René Descartes is known to be the first author of the hypothesis on skeptical philosophy as a representative of the Western branch of the science. He expressed his ideas on the topic in the work Meditations on First Philosophy (1641). At the end of his first meditation, prefaced by the thinker as the one dedicated to attempts to “set forth the reasons for which we may, generally speaking, doubt about all things and especially about material things”, Descartes states that he shall consider himself as “… having no hands, no eyes, no flesh, no blood, nor any senses, yet falsely believing myself to possess all these things; I shall remain obstinately attached to this idea, and if by this means it is not in my power to arrive at the knowledge of any truth, I may at least do what is in my power [i.e. suspend my judgment], and with firm purpose avoid giving credence to any false thing…” (Descartes,1911). So, Descartes claims his utter doubt in perception and all of the results of the work of consciousness.

G.E. Moore and René Descartes are in common by referring to the “hand example” in their works. By naming his two hands objects of the external world, Mr. Moore confirms the existence of the latter. The author constantly mentions the interrelations between the given premise and the conclusion drawn from it and he is still sure that the conclusion is true. Although, he says that he had “conclusive evidence, but it is a very different thing from being able to prove it” (Moore, 1959, p. 148). The author admits he cannot prove some facts related to the external world, and, the same as Descartes, it does not make him discard his knowledge about them. G.E. Moore means that we have knowledge, and we are conscious of that, but we do not know its source, so we cannot proveour knowledge. Basically, G.E. Moore states that objects of the external world exist independently from our consciousness (still, his doubt regarding not having any proofs lessens his persuasion), which is in line with the ideas of the French philosopher.

Philosophy as almost any science does not and cannot present something as given – there are theories which offer only a one-sided view on the problem. Philosophical movements and directions change in the course of history. René Descartes and G.E. Moore belong to two different periods, though their opinions do coincide.


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