Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes masterpiece conveys his will to erase all the previous beliefs and principles that was instilled in him during his childhood and start on a clean slate. His aim was the rebuilding of knowledge from the basics. The only way he was to accomplish this goal was by a plan called doubt. He felt that anything that could be questioned would be useless.
In Meditation on First Philosophy, Descartes argues many points from his existence to all the false beliefs and ideas he had accepted from childhood.
One of the first arguments he begins with is by bringing into doubt all the beliefs that comes to us from our senses. His aim in the arguments is not to prove that nothing exists or that it is impossible for us to know if anything exists, but to show that all our knowledge of these things comes through the senses and it is open to doubt. He uses three arguments to open all our knowledge to doubt. He says that the basic idea is that we don't ever see external objects directly but only through out minds, the images that external object produce in us. Since experiences that come through the sense do not allow us to interact or come into contact with the object itself. But only the mental picture that is painted in our minds, the sense awareness provides no definite answer that there is anything in the outside world that coincides with the images in our minds.
There are mnay examples in Meditations that Descartes uses to prove this point. The following are the three examples he mentions in Meditations on First Philosophy:.
1. Dream:" A brilliant piece of reasoning! As if I were not a man who sleep at night, an regularly has all the same experiences while asleep as madmen do when awake- indeed sometimes even more improbable ones. How often, asleep at night, am I convinced of just such familiar events- that I am here in my dressing-gown, sitting by the fire- when in fact I am lying undressed in bed! Yet at the moment my eyes are certainly wide awake when I look at this piece of paper; I shake my head and it is not asleep; as I stretch out and feel my hand I do so deliberately, and I know what I am doing.