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Descartes And The Existence Of Physical Objects

673 words - 3 pages

Descartes and the Existence of Physical Objects

In his sixth meditation Descartes must return to the doubts he raised in his first one. Here he deals mainly with the mind-body problem and tries to prove whether material things exist with certainty. In this meditation he develops his dualist argument; by making a distinction between mind and body; although he also reveals that the are significantly related. He considers existence of the external world and whether its perception holds any knowledge of this world. He also questions whether this knowledge is real or is merely an illusion. He makes it quite clear how misleading and deceiving some external sensations can be.
In the beginning of this last meditation he attempts to prove the existence of external object. One way of achieving this is by recognizing the distinct ideas he had of external objects are thoroughly imprinted in his memory, he realizes that the concept of these ideas could not have originated from his mind. Therefore holding the clear knowledge of these objects was a projection of other objects. He realized he had no description of these objects except what they themselves reflected subsequently these objects resembled the ideas which they caused. According to Descartes the only direct experience one can have is the nature of our own ideas and we do not realize how our own appreciation of certain concepts may be very different from the objective character of the external world.
Descartes believed mind and body to be separate entities, however he also believed them to be closely interconnected. He reduces the body to be an extension of the mind but without thought or intellect. He pursues this argument by stating that he (his mind) does not need his body to exist. He also says that the body cannot without intelligent substance attached to it. He adds to this that nothing can assist better to preserving the body than what the mind itself feels but also reminds us that this mind and body experience...

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