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By Willis (ed) Doney
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Extra resources for Descartes: A Collection of Critical Essays
4 But they work. Indeed, they must do so; for the "essence" or "principal attriCritique of Practical Reason and Other Writings in Moral Philoso· phy, ed. by 1. W. Beck [Chicago, 1949], p. 275). 4 As Gilson puts Descartes' view: "Sleep does not constitute in itself a state of error, but simply, because of physiological conditions, a state less favorable than waking to the free exercise of thought" (E. Gilson, Rene Descartes: Discours de la Methode: Texte et commentaire [Paris, 1930], p. 366). e.
Kant, in An Inquiry into the Distinctness of the Principles of Natural Theology and Mora/s, says: "In deepest sleep perhaps the greatest perfection of the mind might be exercised in rational thought. For we have no reason for asserting the opposite except that we do not remember the idea when awake. TIlis reason, however, proves nothing" (Immanuel Kant, Dreaming and Skepticism 55 "once I have recognized that there is a God, and that all things depend on Him, and that He is not a deceiver, and from this, in turn, have inferred that all things which I clearly and distinctly apprehend are of necessity true," then no grounds remain for doubting any of the things that he remembers as having been previously demonstrated-for example, the truths of geometry.
If, therefore, they are right, it follows that it is not certain even that I have the evidence of my senses that I am; it follows that it is not certain that I have the evidence of my senses for anything at all. If, therefore, I were to say now, that I certainly have the evidence of my senses in favour of the proposition that I am standing up, even if it's not certain that I am standing liP, I should be begging the very questiori now at issue. For if it is not certain that I am not dreaming, it is not certain that I even have the evidence of my senses that I am standing up.