Sample Undergraduate Philosophy Coursework

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Descartes’ Discourse on Method Part IV- A Reflection

Clearly State in your own words the “Surprise Ending” in the Reading you Selected

Clearly Identify the Reading Point when you Realized that there were Elements in the Reading that Surprised you. Not all of the Surprises Come at the End

After reading the Discourse of Method, Part IV, the surprise ending that jump out was that the methods Descartes describes were used to determine why humans can reason and speak inadequate and insufficient concluding that these abilities that are unique to humans are a gift from God, thus proving the existence of God.

It is evident from the reading that Descartes is offering proofs of a soul and a God. He begins part (IV) by examining the nature of dreams and that the senses are unreliable (Descartes, 2007). Descartes probes into his own thinking’s consciousness only to realize that this, in fact, gives proof to his existence.

Descartes further interprets this to conclude that the soul, using himself as an example, is separate from the body, which causes the assumption that there is the irregularity of the senses to the rationale. Knowing now that his senses are irregular to his rational. However, Descartes realizes that he is imperfect but still capable of perfection, leading him to conclude that perfection only exists and survives outside of him.

Giving God credit for perfections. Using this as the premise for further indulgence, Descartes begins to justify that all good things in the world, such as thoughts, knowledge, and ultimately the truth, comes from God or are originated by God.

Descartes set a premise that all questions need to have a scientific or mathematical answer. Based on this and the knowledge he had in store, Descartes answers questions on existence. Descartes explains in the Discourse that seeking the truth in science would explain the comparison of science and philosophy. Both variables need each other to answer the basic questions of philosophy (Descartes, 2007).

The first premise based on this was Cogito ergo sum, “I think. Therefore I am” (Descartes, 2007). It has two principles, “I think” can be translated to ‘could be.’ In contrast, the second principle is the association between ‘therefore I am’ and ‘I think,’ which will answer the question of humans existing, are we indeed real? The beginning part of the Discourse (IV) is looking for a resolution to these principle thoughts, trying to prove his own being, allowing Descartes to conclude that his thoughts are just delusions of his dreams.

His deprivation of perfections is the real surprise point of the Discourse, which leads to the surprise of God’s existence. From the beginning of Discourse IV, the reading leads one to believe that Descartes is trying to find the answer to why humans behave based on uncertain opinions as to if they were true. I didn’t expect him to take the premises to prove that God existed, and it was God who places Descartes as a being, and it is God that is perfect.

Evaluate how Successful the Author was in Convincing you to Accept the “Surprise Ending” Validity that was Different from what you Expected

Descartes’s depiction of God as perfect and creator of perfection is a concept that is not one that can be extremely convincing. Descartes does provide deep-rooted premises from the logic he began with, but his end revelation that God is a perfect mind, and all perfections that are within him are from God’s perfection are quite contrary to what he set out to prove.

When Descartes ponders that imperfect thoughts are the reason for imperfect minds. Imperfect minds could not invent a perfect thought of a perfect being, such as God (Descartes, 2007). God is so perfect couldn’t allow the invention of an imperfect being, with an imperfect mind, that develops imperfect thoughts in the first place. Proving God’s existence based on Discourse IV doesn’t actually prove man’s existence, which was the actual existence question.

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Descartes, R. (2007). Discourse on the method of rightly conducting one’s reason and seeking truth in the sciences. Retrieved from