JEDVAITA

Deus Deceptor

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I am indeed amazed when I consider how
weak my mind is, and how prone to error.

In the first of his 1641 Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes imagines that a malevolent God or an evil demon of “utmost power and cunning has employed all his energies in order to deceive me.” This malevolent God or evil demon is imagined to present a complete illusion of an external world (early forerunner to the dreamstate, matrix, and holodeck), so that Descartes can say, “I shall think that the sky, the air, the earth, colours, shapes, sounds and all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which [the evil demon] has devised to ensnare my judgment. I shall consider myself as not having hands or eyes, or flesh, or blood or senses, but as falsely believing that I have all these things.”

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