Glendale Community College Rene Descartes the Second Meditation Thesis Paper


5 page paper,

Topic: By the end of the second Meditation, Descartes concludes that a reasonable person would not believe that she or he has hands. Set out carefully how Descartes comes to arrive at such extreme sceptical view, and summarize what you take to be his two best reasons. Then, if you believe that you are reasonable, and you believe you have hands, try to show just where and how Descartes’ reasoning is flawed. If you don’t think it is reasonable to believe that you have hands, try to explain why only you and Descartes see things this way.

Things to muse about:

–Why does Descartes seem to change his mind so often, is it a sign that he is led into deeper and deeper doubts, or a sign that he can’t even convince himself?

–Is it unlikely that you are a brain in a vat? What evidence is it proper to cite in making such a probability calculation?

–If Descartes thinks that he thinks or desires or feels, then it is indubitable that this is true apparently… why does he admit that if he feels that he is a King, that is NOT indubitable that he is a King at all!

–If holding you hands up in a court of law, a place we take evidence very seriously, surely DOES PROVE that you do have hands, then why won’t that proof convince Descartes?

–Is Descartes just a weirdo, or do you find it is your own standards for reasonable belief that seem to invite scepticism?


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