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Word Count: 384
Descartes was an intellectual trail-blazer during the European Enlightenment of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries He pioneered a radical movement which shook the traditional foundation of philosophy to expose widening cracks in previously unquestioned logic Descartes warned the masses that what they had been raised to believe was knowledge may have been based upon flawed logic Like many of his contemporaries Descartes was questioning conventional beliefs and when he found them to be lacking began to explore alternative methods According to Descartes nothing should be blindly accepted as the truth Man must liberate his mind so that he may freely pursue that which is truly knowledge and not merely a representation of knowledge This is the central idea behind Descartes Meditations on the First Philosophy which presents six arguments on how man can free himself to recognize truth and the meaning of his existence In the first meditation Descartes stated categorically that he believed he had been misled by false knowledge that had passed itself off as being true The only way to recognize knowledge is to constantly probe and prod it to make sure the logic upon which it is based doesnt collapse As Descartes wrote I have ever since been convinced that if I am to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences I must once and for all and hitherto give credence starting entirely anew and building from the foundations up 28 The best way to raze this foundation according to Descartes is to have suitably freed my mind from all cares I shall at last apply myself earnestly and freely to the general overthrow of all my former opinions 28 What has become known as Cartesian doubt arises from the First Meditation where Descartes asserted that nothing is beyond questioning including the existence of God If the mind remains closed by previously-established conclusions man will never achieve the freedom he seeks through knowledge As Descartes pointed out when man is
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