What is Descartes’ “Method of Doubt”? Why does he engage in it? Say what you think are one or two merits of his approach. Also discuss one or two of the alleged defects, set out in the following two criticisms.

Criticism 1: Descartes takes seriously doubts which are very improbable. But it is absurd to think that just because we can imagine some unlikely fantasy, we don’t know basic facts, such as the fact that the world contains many people who have arms and legs and can walk and talk, even if that’s what’s actually true. Surely, if the world really is the way Descartes normally supposes, then his normal true beliefs are not merely true, they really are knowledge. So: if
“certainty” means being able to conclusively refute all such possibilities –Descartes must be mistaken in thinking knowledge requires certainty.
Criticism 2: Descartes is attempting to doubt everything all at once. But this is a mistaken plan. In order to arrive at any knowledge, he needs to be able to trust something. For instance he needs to trust his own powers of reasoning, if he is to be able to arrive at conclusions by argument, or evaluate reasons for doubt. Therefore his project is doomed to failure.
Where applicable, you may like to refer to the “JTB minus” view of knowledge, and how discuss whether it contrasts with Descartes’ view.
Note: do not waste words writing the above criticisms out in full in your essay. When you discuss them just refer to them as “Criticism 1”, and “Criticism 2”. If you wish you can refer to the individual sentences in them as “Cr1, Sentence 2” – meaning “second sentence of criticism 1” – and so on.
Make sure you say something about each part of the topic, including clearly answering the questions about what the Method of Doubt is, and why Descartes engages in it.

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