External World essay
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Rene Descartes was one of the most renowned philosophers. His strong philosophies are still effective today giving people reasons to approach life in a different manner from how they perceive it. He was a strong believer that one way of getting to know the certain truth would be to first doubt in what many believe in. If then after critical analysis of the subject your belief remains the same, then it is proof that your subject is the existence beyond doubt.
We are supposed to show that we can have knowledge of the world. So what is the problem of the external world and why does it matter to us? If a problem generates, then we do not know the world as we may have thought. We do not have knowledge of the external objects and there surrounding. It is exceptionally vital to understand the problems of the external world for smooth and happy existence. It is a terribly remorseful and unacceptable practice to ignore a problem. It is also even worse to accept the problem. We always should know the problem and the way to handle it. However, if we have to dismiss it, we need a principled reason. Philosophy would be a parlor game if not, that is, if we choose the argument to support seriously. (Ryle, 121-122)
In his first mediation, Descartes first posed the philosophical problem of how we can show that we have any understanding of the world around us. Descartes find it impossible to conclude that he is dreaming following the reflection of his sensory experiences. He is driven to a conclusion that he may not know anything about the external world around him. The problem of the world is a problem of being, whereas the problem of being is the problem of objectiveness’. According to Descartes, it is the problem of definition. It is a problem related to comprehension, universals and the power to identify. Stroud argues that if Descartes is right that in order to know something around the world, he must know first that he is not dreaming, and then he is right that he has no knowledge about the world. This is because the condition has to be fulfilled and from the context, it can never be fulfilled. For its fulfillment, it would require knowledge, which would be available if only condition is fulfilled. (Gorge, 602)
The untrustworthy argument
Since my senses have deceived me before, it is wise not to trust anything by which I have been deceived before, hence; it is simply wise not to trust any senses.
The dreaming argument
If I am dreaming about p, I do not know p. If I do not know whether am dreaming, it is possible that I am dreaming and, therefore, I do not know p. The requirement we make is that S is related to the facts and that any suitable relation is not dreaming. If I dream p, even if I know p or that it is true, I still do not know p. For example, the duke of Devonshire was not aware that he was talking in the House of Lords even though he practically was. The Question in mind is whether Descartes is right that he must be aware that he is not dreaming for him to understand something around the world. The world seems compatible with the hypothesis that if am dreaming, and then to know the happenings around me, I need to know that am not dreaming (Ryle, 124-125).
Is Descartes right in his discovery that he cannot know that he is dreaming?
According to him, knowing that i am not dreaming is the condition to knowing anything about the world. It also means that knowing I am not dreaming requires that I know I am not dreaming. This requirement cannot be met. What possible tests can be performed to show that I was not dreaming, and how can I know that I have not dreamt that I performed the test? (Gorge, 603).
We have two claims below:
(a) If S is dreaming that p, then she does not know that p.
(b) If S does not know she is not dreaming, then she does not know that p.
(a) Is a premise 1 (b) Is a strong claim and is highly implicit in the argument of dreaming. The closure principle is that if S knows that P, and knows that P implies Q, and then S is in a position to know that Q mean P. If the closure principle is truly a frequent and unexceptional condition of our everyday conception of knowledge, then the argument of dreaming is valid, and we certainly do not know all the things we suppose we did. (Gorge, 604)
In the 1950s and 1960s, news spread concerning the refutation of skepticism and his proof of an external world. Moore responded notoriously about this skepticism by holding up his hands. “Here is one hand and here is another”, he said. When he was saying this, he made a certain gesture with each of the hands. With the contentious premise that hands are external to our minds, he analyzed the result a proof of the existence of external objects a perfectly rigorous proof. He added that it was probably impossible to give a rigorous proof of anything. The production of a rigorous proof that presumably is perfect that P is a sufficient rejoinder to someone expressing skepticism as to whether P, for what else could the skeptic is demanding. Moore seemed not certainly sure on whether the question of response to the skeptic was conclusive, but he was sure and confident that it was adequate. (Ryle, 126-128)
Moore lifted up his hand and said, here is one hand, and here is another in his proof of the existence of the external world. He, therefore, concluded that there exist at least two external things. He certainly knew his premises, and he concluded candidly that external things exist. However, his theory received a lot of skepticism from Lehrer and Stroud. (Gorge, 605)
In his arguments, Moore would first draw a very negative consequence about his everyday life. For example, that time is unreal. From this argument, more would deduce that he did not have his breakfast before he had his lunch. In this case, beforeness was a paradigm case of temporary relation. From the two claims, 1. Time is unreal and 2. That I had lunch before breakfast, the hypothesis from these two arguments could be valid. Moore thought that the important question to any specific on idealism concerning the external world scarcely left the room for debate. According to Moore, the reality of time directly entails something he holds true, that he took his breakfast before his lunch. Then the culprit must be one of the other members of the in-consisted set. It must be one of the premises that are false. It does not matter which one is false. (Ryle, 128-120)
In fact, we do not require knowledge on what the premises are. Whatever they are, they cannot all be true. Hence, this applies to the external objects. The reality of the objects is entailed by something he already knows to be true, that he has hands; hence, any philosophical argument that shows that there is no external world is unsound. (Gorge, 605-607). Moore’s response on the existence of the external world is not satisfactory. First, his argument puts more focus on skeptics rather than the skepticism itself. This personalization demonstrates a narrow way of determining the certainty of the existence of the external world.