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Descartes Dream Argument Essay - UK ..

There are different ways of construing the dream argument. Aparticularly drastic claim would be that Descartes might conceivablybe trapped in a lifelong dream in the sense that none of hisexperiences, including his waking experiences, have ever been causedby external objects (Newman 2010 calls this the Always DreamingDoubt). A weaker claim is that while he is not always dreaming,he cannot rule out, at any given moment, that he is now dreaming(the Now Dreaming Doubt; for a fuller discussion of bothversions, see Newman 2010). This weaker claim is stillepistemologically damaging: even though some of his sensory-basedbeliefs might be true, the possibility that he might now be dreamingrenders him unable to distinguish his true beliefs from those that arefalse. His doubt thus prevents him from possessing sensory-basedknowledge about the world.

Descartes Dream Argument Essay Examples - Online …

L7. Hume's Touchstone
Does it enhancethe credentials of a theory about the human mind when one finds that itis needed to explain operations of animal minds? What is Hume's Touchstone? Why does he proceed to apply this touchstone to his theory of experimentalreasoning (his theory of how we reason about matters of fact and real existence)? Does he think that animals, like men, learn many things from experience? Do they expect that like effects will follow like causes? Are theseinferences or expectations based on past experience? To what evidencefor these claims does Hume point? Can one account for these animalinferences or expectations as instances of reasoning or argument that invokessome sort of uniformity of nature principle? Do human
children make causal inferences in this way? Why not? Isanimal belief to be explained in the same way Hume explained human belief? Why didn't Nature entrust such important operations as causal inferencesto reasoning and argumentation rather
than to habit or custom?

Meditation – Dreaming Argument Short Essay.

Simpson, P. 1982: “The Dream Argument and Descartes’ First Meditation”, Auslegung 9 ()
Wright, C. 1991: “Scepticism and Dreaming: Imploding the Demon”, Mind, vol. 100, pp87-116
Descartes, R. 1996: Meditations on First Philosophy, Cambridge University Press
Stroud, B. 1984: The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism, Oxford University Press

Dream arguments have been a staple of philosophical skepticismsince antiquity and in fact were so well known in the 17thcentury that in his objections to the Meditations, Hobbes(1641) criticized Descartes for not having come up with a moreoriginal argument and boring the reader with the all-too-familiarscenario of dream deception. Yet, it is has been Descartes’version of the problem that has been most prominent in thephilosophical discussion.

Descartes Dream Argument Summary Essay - 321 Words

A first reason is that Descartes’ version of the problem setsthe dream argument apart from other related skeptical arguments:unlike standard cases of sensory misperception, dreaming raisesgenuine doubts about the veracity of even best-case scenarios ofsensory perception, and unlike the evil genius hypothesis (see nextsection), dreaming is cast as a real-world (and not a merelyhypothetical) example of sensory deception. By contrast, many whodiscussed the dream example before him did not take theepistemological threat posed by dreaming to be unique. Inthe Theaetetus (157e), Plato has Socrates discuss a defect inperception that is common to

It is also important to see what the dream argument does not do. Inparticular, the dream argument casts doubt only on sensory-basedbeliefs about the external world—of which Descartes’belief that he is sitting dressed by the fire is a particularly clearexample. At the same time, however, Descartes insists that truths of avery general kind, which are not based on sensory perception and donot concern actual existence (such as that 2+3=5 or that a square hasno more than 4 sides), are knowable even if he is now dreaming:

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Descartes Dream Argument - Philosophy Essay - 1410 …

Descartes’ explicit reason for going beyond the dream argument is that it leaves his mathematical beliefs intact. These beliefs are not dependent on his senses, so he finds that he cannot doubt that 2 + 3 is 5 or that a square has four sides. Moreover, he is entitled on this basis to believe in a world in which mathematical ideas have meaning – a world in which number and dimension can apply to things.

Philosophy Essay: Evaluating Descartes’ Dream Argument

concluding that knowledge cannot be defined interms of perception (see Chappell 2013). By contrast, Descartesthought that dreams pose a more serious threat to sensory-basedknowledge than (avoidable) cases of sensory illusions. He also thoughtthat dreams leave our ability to engage in rational inquiry intact,thus setting them apart from insanity and delusions. Dreams alsoappear in the canon of standard arguments (or modes) used by thePyrrhonists to counter any knowledge claims, with the fourth of thesearguments stating that the deliverances of the senses vary indifferent conditions such as health, illness, sleep, waking, joy orsorrow and hence are not to be trusted (Diogenes Laertius, Livesof Eminent Philosophers; Sextus Empiricus, Outlines ofPyrrhonism). Augustine (Against theAcademics; Confessions) acknowledges the dream problem,but tries to contain it by arguing that even if we are deceived whiledreaming, we can at least distinguish dreams and illusions from actualperception retrospectively (see Matthew 2005: chapter 8 fordiscussion). And Montaigne (The Apology for Raymond Sebond),alluding to a variety of sensory illusions, notes that wakefulnessitself is infested by reveries, which in some sense are a worseepistemological threat than nocturnal dreams. On this view, dreamdeception is no longer set apart even from standard wake states, butrather is used in a metaphorical sense referring to any type ofsensory deception.

Descartes dream argument refutation essay

Anyway, all of these confusions illustrate what Descartes knew, which was that although there must be a single devastating form of the argument, the dream argument was not best way of presenting it.

Descartes' Dreams, an essay fiction | FictionPress

But there is another reason why Descartes’ version of theproblem has been particularly influential. This has to do with theunique style of the Meditations. As Frankfurt (1970) pointsout, the first-person narrator of the Meditations is aneveryman, whose epistemic situation is in no way idiosyncratic (aswould be the case if he were insane), but rather representative of thetypical defects of any human mind. The intimate tone ofthe Meditations fits Descartes’ strategy of starting outfrom commonsense arguments and gradually working towards a morerefined philosophical position (Frankfurt 1970: 5), thereby enhancingtheir psychological effect on the reader. The dream argument is acompelling example of this. By first inviting the reader to considerthe apparent indubitability of best-case scenarios of sensorydeception and then using the dream of sitting by the fire to shatterthis certainty, Descartes is appealing to his readers’imagination and previous experience and assuming that they, like him,will have had many such dreams themselves.

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