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Do We Really Know Anything?

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By Tumi2609
Words 1630
Pages 7
TOPIC 1: Do you really know anything? With reference to Descartes’ first meditation justify your answer in full and respond to possible objections.

A belief is any opinion or any view whether you are committed to the view or not. Thus, if you know something, you are entitled to believe in it. The subjective nature of knowledge partly is based on the idea that beliefs are things that individuals have and those beliefs are either justified or not justified (Pardi, 2011). However, Descartes notices that over the course of his life, he has from time to time accepted false beliefs and the falsity of these beliefs have influenced other beliefs. Thus, Descartes aim in his first meditation is to find out if what we know is truly correct (Blackburn, 1999:15). Once we have figured out what beliefs are beyond any possible doubt, it is suggested that we can use reason to deduce the rest of what is knowable (Pardi, 2011).

There are three conditions when one can say they know something is true (Pardi, 2011). Firstly, you believe in something, secondly, it is in fact true and lastly you are justified in believing a statement is true. Of course it is possible that there are no complete unshakeable truths, it is also possible that we might discover that our prejudices cannot be detached or that the beliefs we think are our grounds for all our other beliefs are not really ultimate at all. For this reason, it is why rationalist say that knowledge comes from within, the only beliefs we can really know are those that we access through introspection.

In contrast, Descartes does not comply with the idea that there is universal knowledge. He states that in order to determine whether there is anything we can know with certainty, we first have to doubt everything we think we know (Chapman, 2014; slide 3). Such an extreme method may not seem reasonable, however, Descartes does not...

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