Descarte 2nd med

Tutorial Paper
1. Locate Cogito argument and say how it is supposed to go.
2. Locate 2nd argument and say how it is supposed to go.

Within his second meditation Descartes seeks “to save himself from the general seas of skepticism…” (Blackburn, 1999, p 20). In other words he attempts to limit the all-consuming spread of doubt brought about by the evil demon hypothesis. Descartes holds that the Cogito argument establishes this point of certainty, this belief he can be certain is true, even if he is dreaming, or God or an evil demon is trying to deceive him as fully as possible. To be more specific “Cogito, ergo sum,” translates to “I think, therefore I am,” (Blackburn, 1999, p 20) and this forms the basis of Descartes belief in the certainty that if nothing else, he exists. Following this conclusion Descartes then argues that our clearest perception of ourselves is of ourselves as thinking things. In this paper I will aim to analyze the above two arguments.

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The cogito argument is located in the second paragraph of the meditation. Descartes wonders if the doubt can extend even to his own existence. But discovers that even reverting back to the evil demon hypothesis, if he is deceiving me I must exist in order to be deceived. Thus he states “I am, I exist, is necessarily true, every time I express it or conceive it in my own mind.” So the premise follows that whenever I am thinking, I will have clear and distinct perception that I am thinking. So Descartes does not claim to know he has existed through time, but only that he exists at the moment of the thought, for the evil demon could have planted false memories. The proposition I am, I exist, doesn’t rely on the idea that he is assured that he thinks. He has the view that thinking is self-intimating and all thinking is fully available to consciousness. He also has to defend against the proposition that ‘I think, therefore I am,’ is privileged over for example a propos…


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