Essay: Advantages of Descartes’ Philosophy
The greatest advantages of Descartes’ philosophy were his emphasis on doubting anything which could be doubted, and his emphasis on reason and not sensory perceptions to arrive at a solution. This profoundly affected the development of scientific thought, and this is certainly his greatest contribution to humanity.
Paradoxically, the biggest disadvantage of his philosophy was his over-emphasis on reason and reason alone, robbing philosophy of its soul and beholding it to the world of mathematical certainties. The second biggest drawback of his philosophy was his belief that while our knowledge of our own existence was a gift by God, the perfect being, the deception of our senses was the work of a powerful and evil demon – something that modern-day rationalists still find hard to explain in his otherwise rational discourse. (Gaukroger, 2002)
Through their extensive works, both Aristotle and Descartes have made significant contributions to the study of philosophy. While their theoretical frameworks are not without their share of individual failings, the importance that they attached to observation and reason had a profound bearing on the study of philosophy and natural sciences. And even today, we continue to view the world around us through the lens of their thoughts and in the light of their teachings.