In his classic work on epistemology or theory of knowledge

titled the Discourses on Method, Rene Descartes proclaimed

to the world his philosophical conclusion: “I think therefore I am.”

(Cogito ergo sum). In this treatise Descartes debunked empiricism

or the use of man’s five senses to observe and measure knowledge

of the world around him. Suffice it to say that there are only two

philosophical methods of attempting to arrive at objective truth or reality:

a prior and a posteriori.

An a priori claim posits that objective knowledge can be known

independently of observation–that the truth or falsity of a thing is

self-evident and needs no further explanation. On the other hand,

an a posteriori claim supports the idea that a phenomenon can only

be known through observation using man’s five senses.

Although Descartes was a mathematician and mathematics is

an a priori method, the philosopher came to the conclusion that

to accept mathematics as the source of truth is to affirm the

existence of an Evil Genius, akin to the Devil himself, who deceives

man because there is no way of really finding out if 2+2= 4 and

whether or not mathematics is something real or just an illusion.

Moreover, Descartes rejected mathematics as an accurate

yardstick for measuring objective reality because it does not meet

or measure up to the rigorous standards of methodological doubt

through which this philosopher also discredited the a posteriori

method. In place of methematics, Descartes presented the human

mind, which he equated with the soul, as the only genuine tool

for measuring absolute truth.

The main flaw in Descartes argument is that man and the

universe also belong to the spiritual realm. In addition the mind

cannot accurately perceive objective reality simply because it

also creates its own labyrinth of deception and illusion. This

is based on the counter-proposition that man possesses a soul

which transcends his mental faculty and belongs to the more

subtle realm of the spirit. Thus the only reasonable solution

left for us is to accept the proposition that objective reality

can only be measured and analyzed through man’s spiritual

eye through the use and expansion of his spiritual consciousness

by developing such spiritual virtues or abilities such as

unconditional love, compassion, devotion, hope, charity,

humility, patience and non-violence.

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