René Descartes

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Why does Descartes imagine an evil genius deceiving him?

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Descartes uses the figure of an evil genius as part of a thought experiment to establish absolutely certain knowledge. Suppose, says Descartes, that everything I see around me, everything I experience, is just a gigantic trick pulled on me by an evil genius (like the Devil, for example). That only means that I can doubt the world around me; it does not mean, however, that I can doubt my own existence. If I have been tricked by an evil genius into thinking the world is real, there still has to be someone to trick in the first place. As a result, although I can never be certain about the existence of the world of objects, I can be certain that I exist, even if I have been tricked by an evil genius.

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