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Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy

The third passage in Descartes’s Meditations attracts my attention the most because it reveals the author’s initial but grounded thought on the subject and provides an opportunity to consider why he has started his discussion (1). While the first passage seems to be introductory, this one summarizes the most critical information and allows understanding why Descartes started having skeptical doubts. The philosopher claims that people’s senses often turn out to be the major source of information that is used when making decisions and acting. However, they are often misleading, which presupposes that human beings conduct wrong actions, focusing on them. In this way, Descartes attracts readers’ attention to the mind-body problem. He associates senses with mind and mental faculties that need to work harder to deal with possible biases and properly interact with the essentially extended body.

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The passage under discussion turns out to be tightly connected with the rest of the reading, as it reveals the very essence of the First Meditation. Further in his work, the philosopher provides personal examples and describes his ideas in more detail, ensuring that there are enough explanations for readers to understand his ideas. However, the precise idea is included in the selected passage, according to which humans base their actions on the knowledge they obtain from senses that are often misleading, which means that all their decisions can be doubted.

With his discussion, Descartes manages to break down the main notion of another philosopher. Aristotle, for instance, also focuses on the connection between senses and knowledge. The professional claims that people’s mental states are associated with their senses that, in their turn, are the main source of human knowledge. Thus, it can be concluded that both philosophers accept the idea, according to which people’s senses turn out to be the basis for their knowledge and actions. However, the major difference is that while Aristotle trusts his senses, Descartes emphasizes that they are misleading and should not be taken for granted (1). In this way, Descartes ruins ideas discussed by his predecessor and triggers the further development of philosophic ideas. It is also vital to consider the fact that Descartes attracts attention to the source of knowledge based on which people make decisions because similar ideas can be found in other course readings.

Focusing on the third passage of Descartes’s Meditations, I realized that there are some issues I would like to clarify. For instance, I wonder what prudence is for Descartes. Maybe he considers that it is possible to avoid any influence of senses when perceiving new information, but it is not clear how it can be reached. Is there any other way of gathering knowledge? I believe no, but maybe Descartes has some ideas on how already obtained information can be reconsidered so that it is not affected by people’s senses. In addition to that, I wonder if absolute confidence that the philosopher is willing to have can be reached. As for me, it is an abstract concept that can be only imagined and treated as the highest truth that does not exist in the real world. Finally, I would like to clarify why Descartes believes that it is significant for others and for him to avoid those biases that are associated with senses. All people make mistakes, but the peculiarities of their perceptions make them unique. Misleading senses make people start conflicts that provide them with an opportunity to reach the highest possible truth. Thus, there is a possibility that the existence of misleading senses is the very thing that increases a chance of reaching absolute confidence. However, more than one individual is needed to get to it.

Work Cited

Descartes, Rene. Meditations on the First Philosophy. 2017, Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 6). Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/passage-3-in-descartes-meditations-on-first-philosophy/

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StudyCorgi. (2021, May 6). Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy. https://studycorgi.com/passage-3-in-descartes-meditations-on-first-philosophy/

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"Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy." StudyCorgi, 6 May 2021, studycorgi.com/passage-3-in-descartes-meditations-on-first-philosophy/.

1. StudyCorgi. "Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy." May 6, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/passage-3-in-descartes-meditations-on-first-philosophy/.


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StudyCorgi. "Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy." May 6, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/passage-3-in-descartes-meditations-on-first-philosophy/.

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StudyCorgi. 2021. "Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy." May 6, 2021. https://studycorgi.com/passage-3-in-descartes-meditations-on-first-philosophy/.

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Passage 3 in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy'. 6 May.

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