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Sixth Meditation, Rene Descares Essay

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Updated: Mar 20th, 2019

Descartes in his first meditation is skeptical about perceptual knowledge, his concern being the inability to cite the difference between the way one thinks and reasons while asleep and when awake. His argument basically is that dreams are fallacious and that they disguise to be real but in reality, he argues, they are not.

His second argument rests upon the idea of dreams being false experiences, those that seem to be real, but are not (Descartes 16). His aim therefore is to discredit dreaming claiming that it is far from reality and that senses should be doubted. Descartes seeks to justify the argument that some sensory experiences are false, and that whatever that happens in dreams are always false. But why is this so because sensory experiences occur in both dreams and while awake.

Logically it is evident that by the time of waking up, Descartes was able to distinguish between reality and a dream because he realizes that he was asleep and that whatever happened was in his sleep which means that he was able to draw a line between dreams and reality.

In his first meditation, he claims that the realities in both dreaming and waking up are so similar, because most of the things and happenings in dreams were usually similar to those that happen when one is awake. The problematic issue in this argument is that at times those things that one dreams of do not exist in reality. Where then will one place and describe those things that are nonexistent in reality but existent in dreams? How can one explain an imaginary object that exists in dreams?

In both waking up and dreaming, the senses are involved because were it not for them, nothing would have happened in both. He argues that whatever we dream is based on real life experiences and so, stipulates that dreams are not independent but rather borrows a lot from the real world.

But it is evident that be it in dreams or when one is awake, senses are involved. A question arises here as to how one knows whether he is dreaming or he is awake because in both senses are involved. Which of the two can be assumed to be the reality (Descartes 46)? The idea of not trusting the senses therefore comes in and doubt takes center stage.

As shown by Descartes, dreams and real life activities relate to each other. That is why when one is asleep; he may dream and upon waking up get into the realities of life and fail to put a clear cut distinction between the two. But the difference between the two can be that one happens in the mind and the other happens outside the mind.

In as much as they may appear to be the same and real, those that are in existence in the mind could be false and as a result be doubted and those that are outside the mind be seen as real and truthful. Therefore the senses are applicable to both can be subject to doubt (Descartes 63).

Descartes argues that dreaming experience and waking experience are both difficult to distinguish from each other because the visions that come in sleep could be things that are in existence in reality. By putting forth the argument that objects that deal with imaginary things are valid, then one can assume that dreams are valid because to a larger extent they are considered nonexistent in the real world.

Throughout the meditations the concepts that are put forward are issues that are envisioned in the imaginary world which can as well be held in relation with objects and things of the real world.

Works Cited

Descartes, Rene. Meditations on first philosophy: Issue 29 of Library of Liberal Arts. Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill. 1960. Length85

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