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How does Descartes use the hypotheses of dreaming and/or the evil genius in applying his method of doubt?
In Descartes hypotheses of dreaming and/or the evil genius, he argues that while he was sleeping he dreamt of things that seemed real to him. He gives the example of dreaming of a fire that he can actually feel the warmth of just as if it was actually in front of him. It’s because of this that he can’t distinguish the difference between a dream and reality. Descartes feels betrayed by his senses since he is able to feel the warmth of the fire when there actually isn’t one. So how is he expected to believe that he is actually dreaming or trust that he is awake?
Similarly, in reference to the evil genius arguments Descartes implies that he may be under the control of a powerful being whose goal is to deceive him. He goes even further by hypothesizing that he may not even have a body at all. And that he is only a brain that is given information and images by this powerful being (comparable to The Matrix). Descartes doesn’t actually believe this. His intention is to make others aware that senses can be deceiving. And therefore, if we can’t trust our senses to provide us with real information about the world around us then we also can’t trust the deductions we have made on the grounds of sense perception.