Descartes Theory of Sense Deception

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Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 03:57 am
Ok, I am doing a presentation on the theory of sense deception and am trying to find arguments against it. Currently I have none and so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

x x x
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 08:51 am
@Kooks phil,
Kooks wrote:
Ok, I am doing a presentation on the theory of sense deception and am trying to find arguments against it. Currently I have none and so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

x x x


Well, Descartes claims that since we know we are sometimes deceived by our senses, we might always be deceived by our senses. And he gives some examples of sense-deception. You might ask how he knows that we are sometimes deceived by our senses, if he thinks we never know when we are not. It is not merely our senses that deceive us, but they also can correct us when we are deceived by them. Otherwise, we could not know we have been deceived in the first place.
 
Kooks phil
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 11:18 am
@kennethamy,
Thanks for that. I had a similar idea floating round but for some unknown reason it would not allow me to articulate it.

x x x
 
xris
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 02:10 pm
@Kooks phil,
Its another tree falling another musing what if and buts of philosophy ...I ventured into this forum through boredom.. interest..I had no real idea what philosophers actually did but im a bit disappointed they do much the same things as other mortals but with education..
 
nameless
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 03:59 pm
@Kooks phil,
Kooks;35183 wrote:
Ok, I am doing a presentation on the theory of sense deception and am trying to find arguments against it. Currently I have none and so any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

What is 'sense deception'?
Like that the light and colors that we perceive exist not 'out there', as perceived, but in mind as concept? That 'out there' is absolutely dark?
That what you mean?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 04:07 pm
@nameless,
nameless wrote:
What is 'sense deception'?
Like that the light and colors that we perceive exist not 'out there', as perceived, but in mind as concept? That 'out there' is absolutely dark?
That what you mean?


No. But we may think we see a cat, but since it is dark, what we really see is an old shoe. Like that.
span.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 04:09 pm
@xris,
xris wrote:
Its another tree falling another musing what if and buts of philosophy ...I ventured into this forum through boredom.. interest..I had no real idea what philosophers actually did but im a bit disappointed they do much the same things as other mortals but with education..


You'd better go to the movies. Philosophers are mortals. But I am flattered to hear you thought we were gods.
 
jgweed
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 05:41 pm
@Kooks phil,
One line of argument could be that Descartes does not really account for how these sense impressions are "taken into" the mind; this is often a problem with dualists who argue that the mind is one kind of substance and the body (e.g. sensed impressions) is entirely another and different.

Nor does Descartes account for our ability to determine if these impressions are deceiving and then go about finding out the true matter (is the tower round or square? Let's go look closer at it). Granted we may be deceived, but are we in each case?
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 06:34 pm
@jgweed,
jgweed wrote:


Nor does Descartes account for our ability to determine if these impressions are deceiving and then go about finding out the true matter (is the tower round or square? Let's go look closer at it). Granted we may be deceived, but are we in each case?


I imagine that Descartes would reply that these attempts at discovering whether deception took place are, themselves, suspect, because they are perceptions too. According to Descartes we can never be absolutely certain that what we believe we observe we observe. We cannot rule out error. And that is, I think, true. Our beliefs about the world are fallible because we, human beings, are fallible creatures. But now we can ask whether absolute, infallible certainty must be our goal. Human knowledge cannot be infallible knowledge. But that doesn't mean we do not sometimes know the truth. Rather, it means that we cannot know we know (be certain) the truth. And that is different. Descartes, I think, confuses knowledge with absolute certainty.

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VideCorSpoon
 
Reply Sat 6 Dec, 2008 05:19 pm
@kennethamy,
Kook,

I guess by Descartes theory of sense perception, you are referring to the first meditation up until the cogito argument at the beginning of meditation 2.

If you are making a presentation against it, you cannot mention the theory of sense deception, or more precisely, the argument for universal doubt, without underlining the emphasis Descartes has on Rationalism. The rationalist perspective was in most part championed by Descartes initially, although you could argue that others like Aquinas had an indirect influence on the notion. Also, Descartes had other follow who, though not in tune with his own philosophy in particular, maintained a rationalist perspective like Spinoza and Leibniz. Descartes was very much against the common school of thought at the time, scholasticism, which was in many respects drawn of Platonic and Aristotelian texts rediscovered earlier.

But Descartes is mainly a rationalist. He wants to prove that there is a type of knowledge and that this knowledge comes before the sense. Basically, it's like saying that you, at the moment of your birth, possess, had all the ideas and concepts of the world imprinted in your mind and gradually you became aware of those a-priori (before the senses) pieces of knowledge. Opposed to this view are the Empiricist, such as Locke, Hume and Berkeley. Locke for example had a huge argument at the beginning of his Essay Concerning Human Understanding against innate ideasMeditations
 
Rose phil
 
Reply Mon 8 Dec, 2008 10:11 pm
@Kooks phil,
What about deliberate sense deception as in cultivating positive thinking. We are told that we must trick our senses into believing things are better than there are until they are. Is that the same thing or not?
 
 

 
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