Plato and Descartes

Descartes started of with the statement that senses are deceptive. When he found out that he was mistaken about the things that he thought were real, he realized that senses are deceptive and cannot be trusted. Our senses can help us survive in the natural world but not help us to search for the truth. Plato used the senses of eyes in explaining that one is filled with darkness when not going out of cave.

Descartes introduces the idea that he is existing because he can think and that his reason is what makes him real.  He sees himself as an imperfect being. Therefore, there exists a being which posses the things we lack and is the basis of what we consider as “perfection”. This perfect being is God and is the creator of all. If man created himself, then there is no point of being doubtful and seeing himself as imperfect. However Plato believed that the virtue of reason seems to belong above all to something more divine, which never loses power but is either useful and beneficial or useless and harmful, depending on the way it is turned.

Both Plato and Descartes both had doubts about the truth but both seeked for the truth through reason. They knew they were both in a world of uncertainty. Descartes believing that senses were deceived and doubted on his existence, while Plato who created the analogy of the cave. They both believed that in seeking for truth one must consider reason for it is a divine attribute. Descartes believed that we are “rational animals” that makes us think through intellect and through our sense. At the same time introduced the phrase “I think, therefore I am.” Plato also believed in education wherein he defined it as the instrument with which each learns is like an eye that cannot be turned around from the darkness to light without turning the whole body.


Both Plato and Descartes believed that the only one who knows the truth is the infinite being, god. Though Descartes doubted about his existence at first he came to the conclusion that since the idea of God cannot have originated in himself, he concludes that God must be the cause of this idea and must therefore necessarily exist. On the other hand Plato believed that whether it was true or not, only the god knows.


There is more to life and reality than that we regard as true and accepted. By these two philosophers we can conclude that we can use our senses but we must not be deceived by it. Instead we think and seek for the truth. We should be open in learning more and accept that we are imperfect and accept criticisms. At the same time, not only the material things are important but also the self and not self. Not all that we have instilled in our youth is the truth because sometimes it makes us more ignorant.As we go through our lives, we will gain more knowledge and we will learn to question the ideas that we once believed. This will lead us to discovering the truth. Knowledge is finite. There is sill a lot to learn everyday. We alsohave the tendency to commit error in our judgments. These errors occur when the mind tends to judge the things outside of it. Our perception of these things often lacks certainty and justification.

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