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The Argument from Illusion


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Descartes - Sceptical Arguments - Sense Deception


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Descartes presents the first form of the argument from illusion as follows: “Up to now everything that I have accepted as possessed of the highest truth and certainty I have acquired either from or through the senses. However, I observed that these [senses] sometimes deceive us; and it is prudent not to place absolute confidence in anything that has deceived us even once.” Descartes argument is the first of three skeptical arguments that he proposes in The Meditations. He argues that the senses have frequently been proven to be deceptive; and hence infers that he can repose no trust in the senses. He implies that because the senses have been deceptive in the past, an external reality is not guaranteed to exist.
Contents of
The Argument from Illusion

1 The Problem of Other Consciousnesses
2 Subjective and Objective
3 Berkeley: The Principles of Human Knowledege
4 Esse est Percipi
5 The Argument from Illusion in Descartes and Hume
6 Descartes - Sceptical Arguments - Sense Deception
7 Descartes Dream Scepticism
8 J. L. Austen: Sense and Sensibilia
9 The Argument from Illusion in Berkeley and Hume
10 Entrapment within Subjectivity

Related articles: (1) Descartes: Meditation I, (2) The Argument from Illusion