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Descartes claims that the system of knowledge should be reconstructed since it is based on false beliefs, which he considered to be true in his youth. Having matured, Descartes realized that the system of knowledge based on false beliefs is rather doubtful as well. Since a solid basis for science requires an absolutely certain truth, the philosopher rejects all his beliefs that could be even slightly doubtful. Therefore, he decides to create a firm and reasonable background for a renewed system of really trustworthy knowledge.

Although our senses may deceive us, still there are some things, which we cannot doubt.  Descartes illustrates this with the help of the following example. He cannot deny the fact that he is sitting by the fire, has a dressing gown on, and holds some papers in his hands. In the same way, the philosopher cannot deny the fact that those hands and that body are his since he is a sane person and does not act like arrogant people who imagine various pompous matters that differ greatly from the real state of things.   

Despite the fact that Descartes, at first, perceives as undeniable the fact that he is sitting by the fire, he argues later that this argument can still be doubtful. To underpin this idea, he refers to the fact of being a human. As every human falls asleep, Descartes admits that he might have fallen asleep. Due to the fact that dreams may represent even less probable things than insane people imagine when they are awake, the philosopher could have really dreamt about his position by the fire. Although it is rather difficult to distinguish clearly between the state of wakefulness and dream, reality, in general terms, provides more distinct details than a sleep does.  

According to Descartes, human imagination turns out to be unable to create absolutely new things since at least some elements of these fictitious images would be real and already existent. Although the things one dreams about are considered to be nothing but false illusions, the Meditator supposes that dream images still emanate from experience, which makes them resemble paintings. If a painter decides to create an unreal image, such as a satyr or a siren, for instance, he will use the really existing composite parts of different animals. Even if painter’s imagination is capable of inventing an entirely new fictitious image, again he will use the already existing colors emanating from real experience.

From this standpoint, the Meditator concludes that while he may doubt the nature of composite things, he has no reasons for doubting the universal and simple parts of which the former are made. In the same manner, people can reasonably doubt astronomy, physics, or medicine since they study composite things, the nature of which is uncertain and disputable; but no one should put under question geometry and arithmetic, which study simple and general things, as the latter, due to their simplicity, are not to be doubted or perceived as false.

No matter how certain simple things may be, it may happen that God tries to deceive Descartes about the true essence of the simplest things. In this case, the philosopher would calm himself down with the thought that Deity is supremely good to make him intentionally believe false things and be deceived. Nevertheless, due to the ultimately inexplicable Goodness of the all-mighty God, Descartes would admit the idea that God could intentionally mislead him. Then, if the great evil genius tried to deceive the philosopher about the existence of various external objects, Descartes could postpone his critical judgments and stop believing any false things imposed by the deceiver. However, this task is too difficult so that the Meditator prefers to return to his former beliefs and live in the realm of imaginary truth.

Code: Sample20

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