Descartes And The Mind Essay

1099 words - 4 pages - by solsticeecotone ✓ Expert Reviewed

Descartes and the mind
The topic of the mind and how do we know has been around since the beginning of time.
It is one of those questions that will most likely never be answered. I mean, the mind itself is so perplexing that we are still learning stuff about it daily. One question that Descartes proposed was “how do we know?” we still are pondering this one today. We ask it almost every day, maybe not in that way but in some form or another. So honestly, how do we know?
Whenever Descartes started studying about the mind he denounced all of his previous opinions and started fresh. He first stated that “knowledge is seen as a building in which all the superstructure is resting on a foundation, and the building is only as strong as its foundation” (Palmer 55). He wasn’t trying to prove that all of his previous opinions were false but rather try to stay away from the things that he did not know whether or not they were true. This technique was known as the methodological doubt. It has a motto which states: Everything is to be doubted.
This required Descartes to doubt anything and everything that he was not for sure of. He was looking for something that could not be doubted at all, the foundation of knowledge. He first went at this a very rushed manner but then he realized that maybe he was going at it a little to fast. After slowing down he went back and looked at what he had already looked at and thought this: “But it may be that although the senses sometimes deceive us concerning other thing which are hardly perceptible, or very far away, there are yet many others to be met with as to which we cannot reasonably have any doubt, although we recognize them by their means. For example, there is the fact that I am here. How should I deny that these hands and body are mine?” (Meditations IV 166).
This is the point in which Descartes really started the question of “how do I know” he wasn’t even sure if he existed or if anything that he had ever been told was true or not. So he began to ponder on how to prove that he truly did exist. He finally came up with this: "Thought exists; it alone cannot be separated from me. I am; I exist – this is certain. But for how long? For as long as I am thinking; for perhaps it could also come to pass that if I were to cease all thinking I would then utterly cease to exist. At this time I admit nothing that is not necessarily true. I am therefore precisely nothing but a thinking thing; that is a mind, or intellect, or understanding, or reason – words of whose meanings I was previously ignorant. Yet I am a true thing and am truly existing; but what kind of thing? I have said it already: a thinking thing" (Meditation II 31).
So in proving that he existed he also proved who he was or who we are. We are “thinking things” things that can function as long as we think, but the moment that we stop thinking is the moment that we no longer exist....

Find Another Essay On Descartes and the mind

How did Descartes Explain the Relationship between Mind and Body?

2612 words - 10 pages ‘Discourse on Method’ (Fancher, & Rutherford, 2012). In this autobiography he spoke about the rational human soul and his early steps as a systematic doubter. Descartes, like the Greek philosopher Plato, was a dualist and he believed in a mind and body dualism (Wertheimer, 2000; Fancher, & Rutherford, 2012). This point of view was not new because many philosophers and theologians before Descartes had separate these two substances, mind and body...

Descartes’ Arguments for the Real Distinction of Mind and Body

1915 words - 8 pages Descartes’ Arguments for the Real Distinction of Mind and Body Descartes argues has three main arguments for minds and bodies being two different distinct types of substance. These are known as arguments for substance dualism and are as follows. * The Argument from doubt : Descartes argues that while he could pretend or think that he had no body and therefore did not exist in any place, he could not think or...

Essence of Mind and Body for Descartes

1096 words - 4 pages Descartes: Section 1">Rene Descartes is one of the few thinkers to dissect and assess the mind/body problem with his argument for dualism, which is the possibility that the mind was distinct from the body. In Descartes' Mediations on First Philosophy, he is able to construct his arguments for the real distinction of mind from body, by understanding how the physical world operates based on the notions he sets. His claim will eventually be refuted...

The Mind-body problem in Descartes Meditations

1402 words - 6 pages ideasIn the third meditation, Descartes tries to prove God's existence and that He is not a deceiver, thereby allowing us to be sure that we are not deceived when we perceive things clearly and distinctly. In the rest of the meditations, Descartes tries to prove that he himself is a thinking being and also that the mind is separate from the body.In Descartes' first meditation, he goes on to prove that nothing exists meaning that because...

The mind-body relation at descartes

2861 words - 11 pages >Descartes, Rene. Meditații metafizice. Editura Crater, București, 1993. (trad. Ion Papuc)The philosophical writings of Descartes. Volume 2. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1984. (translated by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothhoff, Dulagd Murdoch).Baird, F. and Kaufmann, W. (ed.), Modern Philosophy, Prentice Hall, 2008Clatterbaugh, K. The Causal Debate in Modern Philosophy 1637-1739, Routledge, 1996Cottingham, J. The rationalist. Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1998...

Analyzing Individuation and Identity In Descartes´ Philosophical View of the Mind-Body Dualism

1292 words - 5 pages Every since Plato introduced the idea of dualism thousands of years ago meta-physicians have been faced with the mind-body problem. Even so Plato idea of dualism did not become a major issue of debate in the philosophical world until the seventeenth century when French philosopher Rene Descartes publicized his ideas concerning the mental and physical world. During this paper, I will analyze the issue of individuation and identity in...

Descartes' Views on the Topic of Philosophy of Mind

1134 words - 5 pages Descartes' Views on the Topic of Philosophy of Mind Descartes has indeeed made some notable contributions towards the philosophy of mind. It is the aim of this essay to discuss these contributions. Descartes is well known for being an avid dualist. This is the view that the mind and body are understood to be seperate and distinct from each other, but in some way causally connected. Descartes was no exception and...

Descartes' arguments for immateriality of mind/soul based on the notion of dualism: body is extended object and mind/soul is non-extended.

1858 words - 7 pages actually exists by asserting that the ability to reason proves his existence. Then he moves to claim that the mind and body are distinct entities and that mind can exist without body. This would imply the possibility for an after-life, thus the immateriality of mind/soul.�So Descartes starts his argument to prove immateriality of soul by asserting that self exists as mind/soul. After doubting everything in his...

Descartes’ Arguments for the Existence of Body as Distinct from the Mind and His Justifications to Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia

1722 words - 7 pages comprehensive attempt to answer the question. In this paper I will examine Descartes’ arguments for the existence of body as distinct from the mind; outline Elisabeth’s objections and proposed solutions, and argue that Descartes’ responses to Elisabeth are inadequate to address the problem of mind-body interaction without resulting in contradiction. Descartes sets out in meditation six to determine what justification there might be for the existence of...

Title: Mind and Body: An interpretation on the works of Rene Descartes and Benedictus de Spinoza -Talks about "Dualism" and "Double Aspect Theory"

1152 words - 5 pages this view in perspective. Two philosophers who argue over this topic are Rene Descartes and Benedictus de Spinoza. Descartes was one of the few early thinkers to dissect and assess the mind/body problem with his argument for dualism. In contrast to Descartes was...

How far is Descartes’ Argument from Indivisibility successful as a justification for the need of a metaphysical distinction between mind and body?

841 words - 3 pages How far is Descartes' Argument from Indivisibility successful as a justification for the need of a metaphysical distinction between mind and body? Descartes introduces the argument from indivisibility by positing what he discerns as the fundamental difference between the mind and body, stating that "...the...

Similar Essays

The Mind and the World: Descartes Meditations

1194 words - 5 pages C. Santos Professor R. Boeker The Mind and the World Due: October 18, 2013 Descartes presents three skeptical arguments in his meditations which shows he has reason to doubt all of his sensory beliefs. Descartes ultimately aims to free himself from all bad beliefs. His quest for certainty is driven from his belief that our belief system is built on a foundation of basic beliefs, that are not justified, in turn, causing him to believe...

Descartes on the Mind and Body

836 words - 3 pages A substance is a philosophical term that defines what a philosopher believes the world to be composed of. Descartes states that the world is composed of two substances: matter and mind. He states that he knows that matter and mind are distinct substances since he can distinctly think of each one separately and since matter is divisible while mind is not. These attempts at proving the distinctness of matter and mind from one another are both...

Descartes - Mind and Body. Essay

2270 words - 9 pages Descartes overall objective in the Meditations is to question knowledge. To explore such issues as the existence of God and the separation of mind and body, it was important for him to distinguish what we can know as truth. He believed that reason as opposed to experience was the source for discovering what is of absolute certainty. The first meditation acts as a foundation for all those that follow. Here Descartes discerns between mere...

Descartes Philosophy Of The Mind Essay

946 words - 4 pages In the second meditation Descartes wishes to distinguish the mind from the body. However, Descartes recognizes that in order for this to happen he must cast away everything, which he doubts, and find one thing that is absolutely certain. The one thing that Descartes finds to be certain is that he is a...