Seminar: "The role of Skepticism in Cartesian Epistemology" by Dr. Sunkanna Velpula
The Meditations on First Philosophy is the most prominent philosophical text of Rene Descartes which has enormous influence on philosophical quest for centuries. Descartes proposed to demolish all the beliefs in order to make a way for certainty upon which to build all further knowledge. Descartes presented a clever argument in a precise and fascinating procedure through the Meditations. The method that Descartes employed, for the clear and distinct knowledge of the world out there and the knowledge of one’s own, is more significant which could influence the philosophical community for centuries. The confusion that occupied Descartes’ mind compels him to think about the certainty of all knowledge and any possibility of our having knowledge. He totally negates all of the existence based on the refutation of the senses, the dream regress, and the supposed existence of an evil deceiver. The assumption of nothing exists hardly a conventional sentiment but not one which anyone would readily embrace. However, Descartes’ very convincingly guides us through his thinking that it almost seems possible. Descartes’ radical skepticism, with a new twist against ancient skepticism, is an essential feature of his theory. Through the complete destruction of all knowledge and existence, he clears the ground to build his own theory of knowledge. His ﬁrst move toward complete skepticism is a stipulation which asserts that we must not trust that which has deceived us even once. The main intention of this paper is to illustrate the arguments about the senses, the external world and the existence of God are quite weak and don’t justify the arguments the way he concluded it.
Dr. Sunkanna Velpula is a Post Doctoral Fellow at Dept. of HSS, IIT Bombay