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Sorin Sabou

Letter to the Romans, Nicomachean Ethics, and more

Descartes - the 'evil demon' hypotheses

The hypothesis of the evil demon is imagined by Descartes. He imagines that there might be an evil deceiver who is constantly putting false ideas in his mind. Whatever he takes to be true is really false. This is so no matter how sure he is of it (Meditations I and II).
Descartes thinks that this hypothesis of the evil demon could be ruled out by a proof that God exists. God who created us is infinitely perfect and would not deceive us.
Because he thinks that is threatened by solipsism (the view that only I exist, and everything else is only relative to my existence) he needs to prove that he is not alone in the world. For being able to do that he has to disprove the hypothesis of the demon deceiver; he can do that only if he can show that an infinitely perfect being exists (Meditation III). If Descartes can not demonstrate God's existence, his own physics cannot be shown to be more than a dream.
When we doubt as Descartes does, we lose our confidence that we know anything at all. Our belief in the world's reality vanishes. After the Meditation I he faces the problems of skepticism and solipsism, and that is why, he is gearing his argument trying to prove God's existence.
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