Sample Term Paper

Words 800

This paper discusses the opposing views of two great philosophers Rene Descartes and David Hume. Descartes was a French philosopher and mathematician in the early 17th century while Hume was a Scottish philosopher in the 18th century. This paper discusses their views about knowledge, and how they distinguish between the certain and probable knowledge.

Descartes attempted to use doubtful arguments in order to establish a solid ground for knowledge. So, Descartes reasoned, if we try to subject everything to doubt we will hopefully discover at some point if there is something that cannot be doubted. This he claimed to achieve in his statement that it is impossible to doubt that we are thinking beings. This proves that we exist. By employing this ‘method of doubt’, as he called it, Descartes simply used skepticism as a means to find something positive and was not therefore actually a skeptic.

Skepticism was once again championed by the Scottish empiricist philosopher David Hume, who disagree that certain assumptions – such as the link between reason and effect, natural laws, the existence of God and the souls were far from definite. What we know that seems certain, Hume argued, was based on surveillance and habit as opposed to any logical or scientific necessity.

Descartes is looking for absolute certainty we can never know absolutely what truth is, but we can believe something is true once we stop doubting it.

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