Reconstructing Descartes’ “Doubt Machine”
Reconstructing Descartes’ “Doubt Machine”
Following the argument reconstruction guidelines ( ArgumentReconstructionAid.pdf), and in your own words (!), reconstruct Descartes’s “Doubt Machine” deduction.
To understand Descartes’ use of his “Doubt Machine,” concentrate on his First Meditation. To reconstruct the “Doubt Machine,” concentrate, on the following paragraph:
” But, to this end, it will not be necessary for me to show that the whole of these are false–a point, perhaps, which I shall never reach; but as even now my reason convinces me that I ought not the less carefully to withhold belief from what is not entirely certain and indubitable, than from what is manifestly false, it will be sufficient to justify the rejection of the whole if I shall find in each some ground for doubt.
Nor for this purpose will it be necessary even to deal with each belief individually, which would be truly an endless labor; but, as the removal from below of the foundation necessarily involves the downfall of the whole edifice, I will at once approach the criticism of the principles on which all my former beliefs rested.”
To support your reconstruction, you will use quotes from Descartes’ Meditations (not from any secondary sources). You will indicate which particular element of your reasoning is supported by which particular quote by using super-numerals (as in a footnote reference, with the quote being your footnote  ). Quotes support your classification when they demonstrate to your reader (me, in this case) that Descartes really meant what you’re arguing he meant. Avoid using irrelevant (when the connection between the quote and your claim is not made evident), or obscure quotes (when your reader must do all the work).
 Like this. But here, you would place your quote.
Please make sure you review my video before attempting this reconstruction.
Expert Partial Solution
René Descartes contemplates that he has often found himself mistaken regarding the issues that he earlier believed were certain, and decides to get rid of all his presumptions, restructure his knowledge from the beginning upwards, and assent as true only those claims that are absolutely certain. Everything that he formerly thought he knew appeared to him through senses. By a methodological doubt process, Descartes completely withdraws from the senses. His senses could be deceived by some evil demon or God, or at any moment he could be dreaming, hence he concludes that he cannot trust his own senses concerning anything.
However, René Descartes realizes that he cannot place any doubt on his own existence. He ultimately notes that in order to think or to doubt, there must be someone actually doing the thinking or doubting. He may be deceived about other things, but he must conclude that he exists. Because his existence emanates from the fact that...read more
 SEVERAL years have now elapsed since I first became aware that I had accepted, even from my youth, many false opinions for true, and that consequently what I afterward based on such principles was highly doubtful; and from that time I was convinced of the necessity of undertaking once in my life to rid myself of all the opinions I had adopted, and of commencing anew the work of building from the foundation
 All that I have, up to this moment, accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty, I received either from or through the senses
 But yet, since I was there desirous to avoid the use of comparisons taken from material objects, that I might withdraw, as far as possible, the minds of my readers from the senses, numerous obscurities perhaps remain, which, however, will, I trust, be afterward entirely removed in the Replies to the Objections
 I observed, however, that these sometimes misled us; and it is the part of prudence not to place absolute confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived.
 But it may be said, perhaps, that, although the senses occasionally mislead us respecting minute objects, and such as are so far removed from us as to be beyond the reach of close observation, there are yet many other of their informations (presentations), of the truth of which it is manifestly impossible to doubt; as for example, that I am in this place, seated by the fire, clothed in a winter dressing gown, that I hold in my hands this piece of paper, with other intimations of the same nature.
 But, to sum up, what conclusion shall I draw from it all? It is this: if the objective reality [or perfection] of any one of my ideas be such as clearly to convince me, that this same reality exists in me neither formally nor eminently, and if, as follows from this, I myself cannot be the cause of it, it is a necessary consequence that I am not alone in the world, but that there is besides myself some other being who exists as the cause of that idea; while, on the contrary, if no such idea be found in my mind, I shall have no sufficient ground of assurance of the existence of any other being besides myself, for, after a most careful search, I have, up to this moment, been unable to discover any other ground.
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