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 pretend he had no mind, as
merely having a doubt that he had a mind proves that he does.

* The Argument from Clear and distinct understanding: Descartes
argues that if two things can be separated even if only by god
then they must be two different things. Descartes says that as he
can perceive minds and bodies clearly and distinctly from each
other they must be two separate things we just don't know how to
separate them.

* The Argument from simplicity: Descartes argues that bodies can be
divided into parts whereas minds cannot meaning that the two must
be different things.

For our minds to be separate from our bodies first of all we have to
exist otherwise there is nothing about which to argue and no stand
point to argue from. Also we must be able to believe that things of
which we think in this case minds and bodies exist and that if we
perceive something as correct it must be true. So it is important to
all of Descartes's arguments to establish not only that we exist but
also that we can be certain of what we claim to know. The cogito is
Descartes's claim “that I thinking therefore I exist” Descartes says
that as he can convince himself of something he must exist, as even if
he is being deceived by some supernatural power as long as he is still
thinking that he is something then he is. Further more the mere doubt
that you exist is proof that you in fact exist as how can you doubt
something unless you are existing. “I assuredly existed, since I was
persuaded. But there is I know not what being, who is possessed at
once of the highest power and the deepest cunning, who is constantly
employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me. Doubtless, then, I exist,
since I am deceived; and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never
bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I shall be conscious that
I am something. So that it must, in fine, be maintained, all things
being maturely and carefully considered, that this proposition
(pronunciatum ) I am, I exist, is necessarily true” (Descartes
Meditations, II, p16,17). Descartes's also says that clear
perception, clarity and distinctness are present in the cogito, he
says that these qualities are essential in being sure of anything.
Clearly perceiving something might mean that you think you are sure of
it but you could be wrong, Clarity and distinctness of perception
means that...

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