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Reasons for Doubt in Descartes' First Meditation

            Throughout Descartes' Meditations on First Philosophy, the narrator, or Meditator, isolates himself in order to think clearly and develop a new perception on many concepts like the mind, body, and existence of God. Descartes intendeds this book to truly be a meditation, as readers are meant to put themselves in the place of the narrator and mediator in order to experience this philosophical method themselves. Throughout Meditations, Descartes analyzes the epistemological process an individual thinker may follow in order to establish knowledge and beliefs at a level of complete certainty. The Meditator begins by analyzing the accuracy of his current beliefs, while casting into doubt any opinions he may find reason to believe are false. In order to do so, he must first examine the sensory perception through which he has come to know these beliefs and foundations of knowledge. The Meditator acknowledges that if he finds any beliefs to be indubitable, he will be able to use them to form certain foundations of knowledge from which he can prove mind-body dualism and the existence of God. Throughout the First Meditation in Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes presents and details several reasons to doubt all of his beliefs.
             First, Descartes realizes that many of his beliefs are false, stating, "It is some years now since I realized how many false opinions I had accepted as true from childhood onwards, and that, whatever I had since built on such shaky foundations, could only be highly doubtful (Descartes 13)." Because of this, The Meditator decides to reevaluate all of his opinions, keeping only those that he finds to be absolutely indubitable. In order to do so, he resolves to clear away all of his current beliefs and begins by analyzing the foundations upon which these beliefs and knowledge are built. The Meditator decides that instead of examining his beliefs individually, he may be able to doubt them all if he can find some reason to doubt the basic principles from which they are constructed.

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