PL 201 Assignment 2 Descartes Pinch Test

Descartes Pinch Test





Descartes Pinch Test

Descartes is well known person for the modern philosophy and in addition he is known as the great founder of analytical geometry where his contributions where on optic science. Many of the Descartes conclusions about the pinch test are focused on his own senses and belief. One can determine whether he or she is asleep by either using a pinch test or by see that the eyes are open. The fact is that when one is dreaming it is clear that what he or she is dreaming is making sense. Descartes arguments lies on the meditations that whereby it gives the readers clear mind about the dreams. He concluded that since no one can know if the sensation conditions are optimal because the sensory beliefs are dubitable (Nickels, 2005).

According to Nickels (2005) Descartes had very important arguments on the pinch test which tried to show where the real scientific knowledge comes from. He tried to explain how body and mind are connected to each other and the effects of meditation to the two. Descartes showed that nothing will come into our existence if our mind in not inclusive. He argued that there are no exact signs which can be able to distinguish what we feel while dreaming and what we feel while awake. It is therefore possible that we might be dreaming but when we have false perception on the same. In addition, he left an advice that before someone engaging in a meditation situation, we should first search for a quiet place and avoid distractions so that our minds can have some peace.

Odegard (2007) showed that pain has no hidden essence whereby even when one is asleep he or she will still feel the pain. The point which are derived by Descartes seem to be of much experience and leaves no doubt to him that you can show that you are asleep yet you are not.. in addition, you can have a feeling while awake and at the same time you can have that feeling or experience while asleep. Therefore Descartes concluded that there is not test that can really tell whether you are asleep and dreaming or you are awake. For instance, if you perform a test o show whether you were asleep or not there is possibility that the results will show that you were merely dreaming.

These arguments are very important as they provide the base for scientific method whereby Descartes wanted to show that the mind and body work hand in hand. It is clearly seen that Descartes was true to his argument that when one is asleep and another person pinches him, he will automatically wake up because body and mind work together. He gave a proof his arguments were logic by dividing the world into two that is the body and the mind. Without the mind the body cannot work and that is why human beings are different from other animal. Human being can think and acts accordingly while the body shows the reactions of what the mind has done (Odegard, 2007).

In conclusion, I agree with Descartes reasoning and conclusion that the sense of perception leads to accurate information. For instance, if someone feels a sense of fire does not proof that he or she is asleep but what Descartes thinks in waking life. This is because what we can feel while awake we can still feel it when we are asleep whereby we can feel the sense of fire while in real sense it not there. Descartes has a strong belief that thinking or reasoning is a gift and one can only obtain knowledge from what he called methodological reasoning (Odegard, 2007).


Nickles, T. (2005).Harry Collins and Trevor Pinch. The Golem: What Everyone Should Know about Science. BRITISH JOURNAL FOR THE PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE, 46, 261-261.

Odegard, D. (2007). Descartes and the dream argument. History of Philosophy Quarterly, 12(2), 155-164.

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