Descartes: How To Achieve Knowledge Essay Example

Descartes was the first philosopher to criticize the empiricists’ view of the process of achieving knowledge in the seventeenth century. According to Descartes, human senses cannot be trusted, as there are no reliable signs to distinguish whether a man is asleep or awake (158). There are, however, some undeniable truths, one of which is “I think, therefore I am” (Descartes 161). Descartes argues that it is not human senses but, rather, human intellect that perceives objects.

People make mistakes because of the duality of their nature, as they have both understanding and will. As long as humans use their understanding correctly, they will never make mistakes. The confusion appears when the will extends over the understanding, and people jump to conclusions without careful consideration and skepticism. I agree with Descartes that knowledge may be acquired only after thorough analysis and discussion.

There is no doubt that our senses are not perfect and, as such, should not be treated as the ultimate source of knowledge. People can perceive the same object differently depending on how well their senses perform. Impaired vision, hearing problems, or color-blindness can limit the ability to acquire reliable information, and can even become a source of delusion. People can also be disorientated by feelings, which can lead to incorrect conclusions and rashly trusting initial appearances. Therefore, the only way to ensure reliable information is to apply rationalism. In short, analysis and careful consideration is a more reliable source of knowledge compared to the senses.

Descartes states that God, an infinite being, grants people the ability to perceive. According to Descartes, God is not a deceiver, and human senses are right in reporting the outside world (Descartes 176). In Meditation VI, Descartes rejects the extreme doubts he had considered in his first meditation and proclaims perception to be the basis for the scientific method (Descartes 179). As such, Descartes appears to contradict himself, as there appears to be no need for a thorough analysis, and people can trust their senses to achieve reliable knowledge. However, the Meditations on First Philosophy provide further explanation on this matter.

While senses can be trusted most of the time, there are sources of mistakes that make perception untrustworthy. Human beings are creatures with a dual nature; people have both will and understanding that should be distinguished. As God does not want to delude people, human understanding is perfect. However, will interfere with understanding and become the source of mistakes. People can be convinced only by what they can grasp clearly and distinctly (Descartes 173).

Therefore, humans must analyze and break down everything into constituent parts until there is no doubt about the findings. In brief, human senses can be trusted most of the time but people should also be aware of the sources of mistakes.

The Meditations on First Philosophy by Descartes introduces new grounds for scientific and philosophical knowledge using the method of doubt. While the writing belongs to the seventeenth century, researchers still consider the work to be the beginnings of the modern scientific approach. While Descartes’s logic can be criticized for occasional inconsistencies, his process of achieving knowledge is far more reliable than that described in the works of his predecessors. While human senses can be trusted most of the time, people should also employ doubt and be careful to judge whether they report the true nature of things correctly.

Work Cited

Descartes, René. Meditations on First Philosophy. 2018. Web.

My Experiences As A Walmart Employee


At some point in the past, I used to work in Walmart, which is an international trade giant that prides itself on providing cheap products of acceptable quality to its customers. They were also always hiring, so getting a job there was easy. Working at a big trade company made me feel proud. However, as I soon discovered, Walmart achieved its goals through unethical means. According to the company’s mission and vision statements, they are a customer-driven company, meaning that their purpose is to serve their customers. It is a noble and ethical goal that is shared by many servant-companies. In order to serve its customers better, Walmart does what it can to reduce its prices as much as it can. In order to remain profitable, however, the company’s managers engage in clearly unethical behavior towards the suppliers, the competitors, the employees, and, sometimes, even the clients. The purpose of this paper is to explore Walmart’s ethics and explain how they contribute to the company’s successes and failures, both domestically and abroad.

Main body

The modern philosophy of ethical leadership traces back to the worlds of Emmanuel Kant. According to his works, citizens have a duty to treat their employees and customers with respect (“Principles,” n.d.). This statement lies on the basis of servant leadership theory (Farfan, 2017). According to Walmart’s policies, principles, and rules, they are dedicated to servant leadership and ethical capitalism on all levels (Walmart, n.d.). These statements, however, differ from reality, as I have discovered during my time working there. The ideals of respect and fair treatment are sacrificed in the name of profit and industrial efficiency.

Walmart is famous for unethical business practices on all levels, starting from the ground floor and ending with its overall strategy at the highest levels. The company encourages eavesdropping and whistleblowing as means of advancing in ranks, which creates an atmosphere of distrust and separates the employees one from another, making it easier for the company to manipulate them (“Is it ethical,” n.d.). It causes damage to the communities it exists in by rooting out local vendors and producers by offering products in greater variety at lower prices. After effectively becoming a local monopolist, the company harasses local suppliers into reducing prices to the point they are hardly profitable (Foroohar, 2012). In its efforts to save money, Walmart even betrays its service to the customers, providing cheap products from questionable sources.


It is easy to see that the behaviors of Walmart leadership, even at a local store level, clearly differ from the stated values and philosophies of the organization. Observing the actions of my superiors taught me two things about ethics in a large business environment. The first thing is that while ethics are an important factor in an overall business strategy, they are not a necessary requirement. The existence of large multinational giants supporting unethical business practices, such as Walmart, proves this statement. At the same time, these practices are what prevent Walmart from effectively expanding to other markets. Europe, for example, is increasingly hostile to Walmart’s attempts of seizing the local markets, as customers and local authorities are aware of the company’s reputation. Walmart is forced to spend millions of dollars on “ethical training,” philanthropic pursuits, and charity in order to improve its reputation (Hermes, 2017). To summarize, ethical business conduct may not be as economically efficient in the short-term perspective, but it provides a solid foundation for customer retention and expansion into other regions. Customers value reputation almost as much as they value low prices and quality of goods.


Is it ethical to shop at Wal-Mart? (n.d.). 

Farfan, B. (2017). Overview of Walmart’s history and mission statement. The Balance.

Foroohar, R. (2012,). Walmart’s discounted ethics. Time. 

Hermes, J. (2017). Walmart spends $141m on ethics & compliance systems, positions for increased shareholder returns. Environmental Leader. Web.

Principles of ethical leadership. (n.d.). Web.

Walmart. (n.d.). Ethics and Integrity. Web.

Social Psychology: Prejudice And Stereotypes

Define prejudice. How is it explained through the ubiquitous social phenomenon?

Prejudice is a disposition towards a specific gathering, sorted with various components, for example, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious convictions, and political perspectives (Aronson, Wilson, Akert, & Sommers, 2016). A misguided judgment is that prejudice originates from the superior being to the minority gathering. This is not the situation; preference goes both ways. It streams from a minority gathering to a dominant part and it likewise goes the other way. We are customized naturally to expand our survival. We will adhere to those that we know about.

This makes us support our family, tribe, and race. We additionally tend to show a threatening vibe towards outcasts to ensure ourselves. Our will to survive makes a dread of those we do not know. By implication, the theory of social identity says that other individuals are viewed as having a place with either to our gathering or an alternate gathering. Consequently, congruity comes normally with the gathering of people (Aronson et al., 2016). For example, when individuals offer a typical arrangement of thoughts and qualities that you may not concur with, keeping in mind the goal to accomplish the feeling of association, you will adjust yourself to trust similar thoughts.

How do stereotypes and discrimination contribute to prejudice?

We can define a stereotype as a conviction about a specific gathering of individuals. However, the stereotype is an inclination for a man in light of their enrollment in a gathering (Aronson et al., 2016). Both definitions can be either positive or negative. Discrimination is an activity that removes the rights of individuals because they participate in a gathering (Aronson et al., 2016). Stereotypes and prejudice affect our reactions to others and our belief system. Discrimination is a societal issue since it is so inescapable, takes such a large number of structures, and has such adverse consequences for such a large number of individuals. Indeed, even individuals who are paid to be fair-minded may segregate (Aronson et al., 2016).

A survey conducted in the US found that White players in the National Basketball League were not victimized when a greater amount of the officials that officiate the game were White, and Black players got fewer fouls when a greater amount of the refs in the tournament were Black (Aronson et al., 2016). The suggestion indicated that the umpires segregated on the premise of race. Skin shading, sex, age, religion, sexual introduction, and ethnic foundation influence the change (Aronson et al., 2016).

About how prejudice is caused, explain four of the following

social cognition

Social cognition concerns the different mental procedures that empower people to exploit being a fragment of a social gathering. The significant impact of social perception is the diverse social flags that empower us to learn. Learning by guideline instead of perception relies on the consciousness of the incitement since such learning does not sum up to circumstances where the jolt is introduced subliminally. Learning by direction relies on a meta-intellectual process through which both the sender and the collector perceive that signs are planned to be signaled.

economic competition

The connection between economic competition and prejudice is as per the following. Prejudice is an inclination that forestalls target thought of the issue or the circumstance (Johnson, Lick, & Carpinella, 2015). Economic competition is a conflict between individuals in the business world or the currency showcase.

normative rules

Normative rules prompt the inclination to oblige the gathering, keeping in mind the goal to satisfy their desires and pick an acknowledgment. The stereotype is prejudice uncovered in inconspicuous ways since individuals have figured how to conceal their partial states of mind to abstain from being marked as supremacist.

subtle sexism

Subtle sexism is an unequal treatment that is less evident than explicit. Subtle sexism speaks to unequal treatment of women that is not perceived by many individuals since it is seen to be regulating and does not show an unusual trait.

Explain two ways in which prejudice can be reduced

Two ways in which prejudice can be reduced include contact speculation and the jigsaw classroom. Prejudice is a disposition towards a specific gathering, sorted with various components, for example, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious convictions, and political perspectives. The contact speculation is the possibility that bringing individuals from various gatherings into contact with each other will dissolve preference. A circumstance where at least two gatherings require each other and must rely on each other to achieve an objective that is imperative to them characterizes shared reliance (Aronson et al., 2016).

The conditions for shared reliance between two groups include association, objective, rise in status of gathering individuals, and casual relational contact (Aronson et al., 2016). Other conditions include contacts with a few individuals from the out-group and social uniformity. A jigsaw classroom is a technique intended to decrease prejudice and raise the confidence of kids by putting them in little integrated gatherings, and making every tyke reliant on the other youngsters in the gathering to take in the course material and do well in the class. Thus, we can eliminate prejudice in the class environment when we create an environment that integrates the minority groups with the majority (Aronson et al., 2016).


Aronson, E., Wilson, T., Akert, R., & Sommers, S.R. (2016). Social psychology (9th ed). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Johnson, L., Lick, J., & Carpinella, M. (2015). Emergent research in social vision: An integrated approach to the determinants and consequences of social categorization. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 9(1), 15-30.

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