Descartes began his philosophical career by trying to set forth two basic principles of scientific method that was consistent with Christianity and that he was not a threat to Christianity. Descartes conveys these two main points in the Meditation. His first point is that the real source of scientific knowledge comes from the mind and not the senses. Descartes's econd objective is to show how religion and science are compatible. Descartes aims to show that science encompasses the body and matter, while religion deals with the soul or mind. In order to show that science rested on firm foundations and that these foundations lay in the mind and not the senses, Descartes began by bringing into doubt all the beliefs that come to us from the senses.
His purpose in these arguments is not really to prove that nothing exists or that it is impossible for us to know if anything exists, but to bring doubt to the notion that all our knowledge comes through the senses. Descartes' first point says, "I often have perceptions very much like the ones I usually have in sensation while I am dreaming." Descartes also says "there are no definite signs to distinguish dream experience from waking experience." Another statement that Descartes makes is, "it is possible that I am dreaming right now and that all my perceptions are wrong." The basic idea Descartes is trying to get across is that we do not perceive objects directly, but rather we perceive them through our mind. Consequently, the images we see produce us. Descartes is saying that he cannot tell the difference if he is asleep or awake because he perceives the same images. I would have to agree whole-heartedly with this particular argument. The images that we remember in our dreams can create a sense of deja vu.
Ultimately, d'ej'a vu makes it difficult for us to distinguish what is true and what is not. Descartes, knowing not everyone would accept the dream agreement theorizes on a second argument, the deceiving God argument that makes three statements. The first is that "we believe that there is an all powerful God who has created us and who is all powerful." Descartes's econd argument is that "God has it in his power to make us be deceived even about matters of mathematical knowledge that we seem to see clearly." Finally, Descartes states, "It is possible that we are deceived even in our mathematical knowledge of the basic structure of the world." Some people in this country of a certain religious faith believe that the creation of humankind came from a more powerful being than us. I would have to conclude that God is not the one who deceives us but rather we deceive ourselves. During the positive and negative events that occur in our life many look to God for direction and even forgiveness for our sins. My sense is that many people look to God for spiritual strength to overcome the negative events in our life and to give thanks for the positive events.
Descartes' last argument, called the evil demon argument, states that, "instead of assuming that God is the source of our deceptions, we will assume that there exists an evil demon, who is capable of deceiving us in the same way we supposed God to be able." The argument of evil demon presents a credible explanation for why the negative events that occur in life. I think it shifts the accusation of God deceiving us to us deceiving ourselves. Descartes might have proposed this particular argument to show the followers of Christianity that he was not a threat to their beliefs. Instead, Descartes might have been trying to find the reasons for deceitfulness. In conclusion, Descartes' main purpose with the three arguments was to show that the basic principles of scientific method was consistent with Christianity and prove that he was not a threat to Christianity. Descartes does a masterful job of using the three arguments to introduce the idea of doubt without offending the Christian religion.
I found Descartes' arguments while difficult to understand on the first read, to be effective on opening.