Descartes' method is something that many have tried to examine. We can only do out best to view Descartes' yardstick for measuring reality and truth and then compare our own yardstick to Descartes and to the world. Descartes purpose was to make people think deeper, to penetrate the walls and go outside of the box which you live in. He clearly states that he is not trying to teach his method, but only to describe how he has conducted his own (28). The next argument is how valid is his use of logic, and how do his conclusions compare to mine. The fundamental principles of thought that Descartes examines are highly intellectual.
I believe that Descartes method first relates to being a mathematician. Mathematics has what is thought to be pure and concrete answers, where as life does not have concrete answers of existence and how to books. Descartes even says on page 31 "Above all I enjoyed mathematics, because of the certainty and self-evidence of its reasoning." In math a type of science you use the scientific method to prove your results, this method is what Descartes uses for the foundation of his work. Working with the scientific method so much, spilt over to how he could apply it to his daily life. This method laid the foundation of the building blocks of Descartes' life. Brick by brick Descartes tried to prove the truth and the reality of God.
By creating this foundation he was able to use it as a yardstick to measure each little detail of his work and to build the wall of his paradigm. One of Descartes most famous quotes is "I think, therefore, I am." Descartes comes to this conclusion of reality by first using doubt as the key to unlock the doors of truth. He found that we cannot trust our senses, for they often deceives us and it is hard to prove ourselves of the authenticity of things which emerge to correspond to our sensations. We cannot even be sure of the reality of our own bodies; perhaps we are dreaming that we have bodies. How can we know whether we are dreaming or awake? We may be entirely mistaken in believing what we see. Perhaps the world is only in the mind, in imagination.
Everything may be doubtful. The only certainty seems to be that there is nothing certain. He then discovered that though all things may be doubtful, the fact that we doubt is not negotiable. The basis of doubt cannot be disputed. If thinking is the process of doubt, then thinking is a certainty. Therefore, Descartes concludes, "I think, therefore, I am." This knowledge is the only assured one, and it does not come from sensations.
As previously mentioned Descartes was not trying to tell everyone how to shape his or her views, but only telling how he created his yardstick. I feel that by doing this he only challenges his readers to do the same. What works for him may not always appeal to others. I created my yardstick of life by measuring my previous experiences and my predecessors; this is the how it has worked for me thus far. I am sure it will change over time as I begin to age and go through more life experiences. Descartes use of logic is very simple.
He seems to view the entirety of a situation by stepping outside his box, and look at each individual part. Descartes says, "I formed a provisional moral code which consisted of only three or four maxims, which I am willing to disclose. These maxims or fundamental principals also created the walls of Descartes' world. His first principle was to obey and follow the laws of God (45). Descartes second maxim was to be firm and resolute in his actions (46).
His third principle was to always conquer himself rather than fortune, and to change his desires rather than the order of the world, and that the only power that we as human have is thought, and that we can only do the best regarding things external to us (47). Finally, chose an occupation that you like best (48). With these principle support walls in place, I as well as Descartes feel that one can enjoy a life worth living. In conclusion, it is Descartes use of reason and logic, which convinces him of the truth. For as his opinions are entirely his and offers no apology of them being new (90).