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Meditation on first philosophy- Rene Descartes
Rene Descartes' philosophy is made up of six meditations. He discards the belief in things that are not absolutely certain and to the effect he tries to bring out what can be known for sure. This paper however, deals with the first two, that is meditation I and II. It is also important to note that the six meditations were written in such a way that Rene Descartes was meditating for six days, evident by the fact the each and every meditation refers to the previous one as 'yesterday'.
This particular meditation deals with things that can be called into doubt. It can be viewed as a first way where he tries to undermine his beliefs. He goes ahead to consider the fact that he recalls that his senses have lied to him in the past. He established that is at all his senses had misled him before then it is possible to be deceived in the present, for instance the judgment that a stick in water was bent when for a fact it was straight. He was able to suggest powerful reasons to support his way of thinking. Generally his, argument was that if he was deceived or is dreaming then definitely his beliefs were unreliable (Descartes, 1993). To him the slightest doubt towards any belief led to a suspension of judgment. This situation forces him to give up all of his beliefs in the physical world thus a very difficult situation.
This meditation concerns the nature of the mind (human) such that it is better known than the body (Descartes, 2000). He lays out a pattern of thought in five steps to respond to the doubts that were presented in meditation I. the first step says that we only have access to the world of our ideas. The ideas include all the contents of the mind. The ideas and what they represent are disconnected from each other. The fourth step is that these things which are represented are usually external to the mind. The final step is that it is possible for the ideas to have false or true representations. He further argues that someone's consciousness represents his or her existence. Descartes (2000) states that a person's self is not determined by what he or she senses through hands, head or eyes but by what he or she thinks. For that reason the mind grasps things plainly and easily than the other senses. It follows that Descartes' concludes that his thinking is what makes him exist.
Does Matter Exist- George Berkeley
This is related to 'An essay towards a New Theory of Vision. His argument is that visual sensation can be explained without assuming the reality of external substances. The theory further explains that the objects that we see through our eyes are ideas formed in our minds and god. Berkeley argued that it is impossible that material substances can exist separately from spirits (Berkeley, 1998). This he believed to be his most devastating point. There are also a number of essays on visions that relate to this very theory that try to explain his stand on whether matter really exists.
The theory relates to perception of distance, figure and magnitude. Berkeley however agrees with other writers on the account that distance is not immediately seen. Other philosophers have argued that our current perceptions are correlated with earlier perceptions. To that effect we are compelled to judge that the very objects are at a distance simply because we had an experience of the large size of intermediate objects, or that objects are now smaller compared to when they had appeared larger. Berkeley (1998) asserts that touch helps one to access to world. It follows that visual ideas of an object will vary according to a person's distance to that object.
He goes ahead to say that the visual ideas are simply signs of tactile ideas. Common knowledge dictates that there is no resemblance between tactile and visual ideas. The relationship between these two aspects is such as various words with their respective meanings. A noun provokes a thought of an object which it denotes. On the other hand the sight of an object provokes a corresponding idea of touch. Berkeley considers the secondary object of sight. In the above described scenarios, necessary connections between the ideas are absent.
Bertrand Russell's Appearance and Reality
In appearance and reality, Russell commences by forwarding a question to the reader, that is, to reflect on what knowledge exists that can be recognized beyond logical doubt. Here, his intention is to generate a realization that radical doubt rapidly brings even the most obvious assumption in our daily lives under reassessment. Using the scene he describes as "I am now sitting on a chair, at a table of a certain shape, on which I see sheets of papers with writing or print," the statement is easily cast in to doubts even though it is seen as doubts (Russell, 1912).
Looking at the description of the table, Russell feels that what appears in terms of shape, color and the shades of color among other things might not be true as such. For instance, he argues that in reality, we make an assumption that table is only made of one table but in appearance our assumptions are contradicted by many colors because the colors seem to be relative in line with the observer, their opinion, and other conditions such as the manner in which light falls on an object. Hence according to Russell the way things appear may not be necessarily the reality on the ground.
Another example is where Russell talks about existence of matter where he doubts of the existence of the table. He reminds us that while doubting over existence of objects physically, the sense-data that enabled us figure believe that there was a table is not in doubt. He thinks that if look at the table as being real then we would have well placed our senses but if it is not real, the whole idea about "whole outer world is a dream". Russell believes that is impossible to prove "that we are not dreaming alone in the desert". Through all these, it is apparent that Russell does not believe in the existence of the outer world and it could be a dream and it always, there is a logical probability of our being deceived concerning the actual reality's nature and is hidden from individuals however Russell also feels that no one knows frankly speaking, that the whole outer world is not a dream (Russell, 1912)".
Mark Rowland's Keanu's Cartesian Meditations
Mark Rowland bases his argument of Keanu's Cartesian Meditations different from previous forms of meditations. These ideas are also shared in the film "Matrix" which does not only astound special effects and actions but also ideas. There many philosophical ideas in both the sequels and original film upon which Rowland feels need philosophical interpretation. The film raises many a lot of familiar philosophical dilemmas hence fascinating modern ways (Husserl, 1995).
In the Keanu's Cartesian mediation, the argument originates from individuals meditative, radicality of the greatest self-reflection, within carrying out the phenomenological reduction drove us to a point of through which we face philosophy as a hard field. Rowland feels that other than making inquiries into the world as traditional philosophy that is subjugated by the dogmatism as a result if the natural attitudes or whenever inquiry is not contented with that, other than just speculating about what the world is thought to be. Rowland is clear in his argument that we should not remain speculative if don't really understand the world as it is through seeking knowledge and getting to know the reality about the world (Husserl, 1995).
Lorraine Code's -What Can She Know?
In her writing 'What Can She Know', Lorraine Code argues that for knowledge, in the common world, the sex of a person is as significant as what he or she will know. It has often been assumed that the knower is not important, and can change from being one person to another, as it is believed that anybody can receive knowledge of any kind. Code however does not agree with this. She states that, who knows is as significant as whatever is known. Code argues that, that which is known and the person who knows it are inseparable because the change of one subject mutually affects the other (Code, 1991).
The thinking of the majority in the world gives a blind eye to what affects the power that creates and shape knowledge that is passed to certain individuals only. This creates a common thought that 'who knows' is not relevant, it could be anybody. Thus the common epistemology, because of wanting to appear unbiased, pours cold water on the existence an elite group of those who know; throwing away the notion that certain knowledge is made for a certain selected few.
The assumptions in the common epistemology go a long way in affecting all corners in the society. This mostly affects the establishments laid by the scientists and those made by the medical field. To critically look into these claims of neutrality as partaken by the traditional epistemology, Code engages Anglo-American's well pronounced figures in a dialogue. She then builds an alternative concept for feminist knowledge. Her criticism is very strong in that it is from both sides of the coin; what is stated by the scholars and a view of what is thought and practiced in the society (ode, 1991). By going further from the traditional epistemology, Code does not just criticize how knowledge is made but also shows how this affects political decisions and strategic measures