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Descartes The First and Second Meditations Rene Descartes begins Meditations on First Philosophy by explaining his basic purpose and how he plans on going about accomplishing this project Descartes hopes to discover truth and justify human knowledge and belief In order to find the fundamental truths of life Descartes believes he must start from scratch so that he may discern truth from false beliefs All of Descartes beliefs everything he has learned and grown to believe is now cast under the shadow of doubt as he explains to us I will attack straightaway those principles which supported everything I once believed 14 Descartes further explains the task which he faced as he says I had to raze everything to the ground and begin again from the original foundations if I wanted to establish anything firm and lasting in the sciences 13 Descartes divides the basic beliefs in life into four different categories or kinds of belief According to Descartes theory there are beliefs about different things in life The first type of belief that he discusses is that of the physical body He writes of how the human body normally functions and understands life through the use of the senses However he warns us senses are sometimes deceptive and it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once 14 Descartes speaks of our own bodies and specific parts of it such as our hands as an example of the physical body He says On what grounds could one deny that these hands and this entire body are mine 14 Additional examples that could be included in this type of belief would be other parts of the body such as our legs and feet The second kind of belief discussed is that of other bodies This category would include physical things besides just our own bodies Specifically Descartes is speaking of those things which
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