Joe Niro History 113 Descartes Reflection Paper Descartes was a very intelligent man and was knowledgeable in many subjects. One of which was his understanding of reason. One might ask themselves, “What is Reason? ” According to Descartes, the ability to reason is a human trait that does not differ from person to person. He believed that everyone had the same ability to reason rationally. It is one’s prior opinions, knowledge, and teachings of a subject that causes a difference in our reactions and results. 1 Descartes discussed that in order for him to reason, he would first clear his mind of all past knowledge.
He believed that this would rid him of any bias and prior opinions he might have on a matter to better understand and reason. He would base his reason solely on facts provided as evidence. Descartes also did not force his thought on reasoning upon anyone else. He would merely write his own approach in which he would follow to reason. 2 He set four rules to be followed. 3 His first rule was that he would not accept anything to be true unless presented with evidence to support the claim, whatever that claims may be.
His second rule was that he would divide the two sides of an argument or claim in as many ways as possible to sufficiently reason. Descartes would then, as his third rule states, view each claim step by step, starting with the easiest thought to comprehend, then progressively and chronologically view more of each claim. His final rule was to not omit anything or any view. Instead he would view everything as plausible and, by following all prior steps, would then be able to reason and make a definite conclusion.
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The real key statement Descartes was making about reason is that it is of the human’s decision as to what the logical reasoning is for something. It is our own past experiences and views that cause a difference in opinion and reason. In order to view reason as Descartes had, one must open one’s mind to many possibilities. In comparison to a glass of water; one cannot possibly fill an already full glass, and one can only fill a half full glass so much. To fill said glass, the glass must be empty. Same is to Descartes’ definition of reason. One must first empty their mind in order to understand and reason.
Nothing is concrete and all is plausible. This is Descartes’ definition of reason. Hume’s is another philosopher who made a stand on the definition of reason. He saw that there was a distinct different between a “relation of ideas” and a “matter of fact. ” If viewing with an open mind as Descartes would support, ones’ claims may not be supported with sufficient evidence, but that alone does not disprove that claim, however, is therefore an idea. A matter of fact would be a claim that is supported by sufficient evidence that can support that claim legitimately.
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