The it may be deceived. To further

By February 14, 2019 Philosophy

The intellect itself cannot be deceived, but when asserting and rejecting the intellect, it may be deceived. To further explain this idea, Philosopher Descartes made an analogy between sensation and intellect to prove that falsity in the intellect will occur when our cognitive faculty fails in the recognition of the things that come accidentally to the form we are pointing at. For example, when we see a white sugar cube, it is to be sure that we can recognize it is white. At the same time, maybe we can also know that the sugar is cubical and sweet by simply using our sight to detect it. However, the concept of “cubical” and “sweet” are not supposed to be known by our site, which is supposed to be known by our touch and taste. Descartes gives us a similar example in the Meditation on First Philosophy, where he mentions, “this piece of wax. It has just been taken from the honeycomb; it has not yet quite the taste of honey; it retains some of the scents of the flowers from which it was gathered; its color, shape, and size are plain to see; it is hard, cold and can be handled without difficulty;” (Descartes). These lines tell us that we can assume the shape of the wax by using our sight sense. However, later on, he provides the other possibility of wax’s situation if it held on to a different place. He says, “I put the wax by the fire and look: the residual taste is eliminated, the smell goes away, the color changes, the shape lost, the size increase; it becomes liquid and hot; you can hardly touch it, and if you strike it, it no longer makes a sound. But the same wax remain?”. Similarly, when people judge the intellect subjectively, such as insisting or denying it, our intellect would sometimes state some knowledge that is not supposed to cover. But, the intellect itself is not deceived. To support this idea, we can think about another example such as: we would judge the sun be only a foot in diameter, but in reality, it is even large than the Earth. To support this example, I can include a statement from Descartes Mediation which is, “Yet I certainly seem to see, to hear, and to be warmed. This cannot be false; what is called ‘having a sensory perception’ is strictly just this, and in this restricted sense of the term it is simply thinking.” In order words, even though we aren’t able to perceive the shape of the sun, however, it let us use our imagination. In this situation, we are not deceived by what we see, but we are deceived by our sense, which, in a sense, is not the fault of our knowledge or intellect.


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