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"discourse on Method" by Rene Descartes

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1. In "Discourse on Method" by Rene Descartes, Descartes states four rules or precepts for solving a problem. First, in order to prevent hasty conclusions, do not accept anything as true unless it is evident. Second, try to divide a problem into the most possible number of parts in order to help make a more simple analysis. Third, start with the simplest parts of the problem and then work towards the harder parts of the problem. Lastly, be wary and unwilling to take big risks, and always check to make sure nothing was left out.

2. Just looking at the phrase, "I think therefore I am" can seem very confusing to most. Although these words can seem very hard to understand, in reality it is quite a simple statement. First to fully understand the phrase, you must first look at the context of the phrase. Descartes was analyzing his thoughts. While doing this he decided to throw out any reasoning that he had not come up with himself. Unless he knew without a shadow of a doubt and had proof, he did not accept it as true. While he was pondering these things, he realized that he has to be true based on his ability to think. He realized that if he was not true or real, he would not be able to think. Since he and other human beings can think, than we all must be true and real.

3. I can apply Descartes' four rules for when I clean my house. First, I cannot just assume that when I'm cleaning someone's room that the whole mess is theirs. One of my pets could have made it or the mess could have been made by other people who could have been that room. Second, I will divide the problem down into different parts. I will start a room a time (I always start with the kitchen, then the living room and last the bedrooms). Third, I will start with the easy stuff first, then move onto the hard stuff. I will straighten everything, before I dust and vacuum. Lastly, when I am done, I will go through and look over every room in the house to make sure I didn't forget anything and make sure that nothing was left out.

4. Another example that can be applied to Descartes' four rules that involves a public policy issue would be the government's involvement with clean up after a natural disaster. First, they don't need to assume that all the damage was necessarily caused by the natural disaster. Although it is very sad, some people could try to damage things on their own and blame in on the natural disaster. Second, they would need to divide the cleaning up into different parts. They would probably need to divide the clean up teams into different counties, as well as dividing the clean up teams into different areas of expertise (some would pick up tress, others rebuild the buildings). Third, they would need to start with the easiest stuff and move to the harder stuff. They would need to get all the debris out of the way before they can start rebuilding. Last, after they think they are all done,



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