Epistemology is a branch of philosophy that studies knowledge, including its nature, origin, and limits. It is concerned with questions such as "What is knowledge?" and "What can we know for certain?"
René Descartes is a key figure in the history of epistemology. He is best known for his philosophical work "Meditations on First Philosophy", where he famously proclaimed "Cogito, ergo sum" (I think, therefore I am), which serves as a foundation for his epistemological ideas. Descartes argued that knowledge must be certain and indubitable, and that all beliefs must be justified by clear and distinct ideas in order to be considered knowledge.
In this lesson, students will be introduced to the field of epistemology and Descartes' ideas about knowledge. They will learn about Descartes' method of radical doubt and his belief in the reliability of reason as a source of knowledge. They will also explore how Descartes' views influenced later philosophers and how they are still relevant to discussions in epistemology today.