This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Descartes: Imagination Essay

2540 words - 10 pages

Imagination is traditionally defined as the mental capacity for experiencing, constructing, or manipulating mental imagery. It is the image of something that is neither "perceived as real nor present to the sense." Imagination is also generally regarded as responsible for fantasy, inventiveness, and creative, original, and insightful thought. Sometimes, it also accounts for a much wider range of mental activities dealing with the "non-actual", such as supposing, pretending, thinking of possibilities, and even being mistaken. Despite being a familiar word of everyday language, within Philosophy, imagination is a very complex and intricate concept.The Meditations represent Descartes' effort to defeat skepticism by showing that if one proceeds to systematically consider the matter, there are truths which one simply cannot doubt. He does this by jointly using a method of doubt with a method of analysis. The method of doubt involves posing more and more powerful skeptical hypotheses which call into doubt classes of knowledge claims. The three faculties by which Descartes holds that we might come to know things are the senses, the imagination and reason or understanding. Early on in the Meditations, Descartes provides arguments to discount all truths derived from the senses and the imagination. While Descartes may not believe that the imagination is a route which ultimately leads towards truth, he uses both his imagination as well as rational arguments about the faculty of imagination in order to guide him on his journey. If this faculty was discounted early in his Meditations, why is it apparently a necessary tool to build his foundation of truths?It is important to examine Descartes' use of imagination in its historical context. The concept of the imagination seems to have been first introduced into philosophy by Aristotle, who tells us, "imagination [phantasia] is (apart from any metaphorical sense of the word) the process by which we say that an image [phantasma] is presented to us." According to Aristotle "the soul never thinks without a mental image [phantasma]." In this tradition, imagery, and thus imagination, has an essential role to play in all forms of thinking (with the possible exception of direct intuitions of Platonic forms ). In the Aristotelian sense, it has no special connection with inventiveness or creativity, but does, however, have a special connection with desire. Aristotle argues that our desire for (and, thus, pursuit of) anything not actually present to the senses must be mediated by an image of the desired object.Even though Descartes is widely known as anti-Aristotelian, he does seem to hold on to at least part of Aristotle's notion of imagination. In Treatise on Man, Descartes explicitly locates both the "sensus communis" and the imagination on the surface of the pineal gland, upon which images both of sense and of memory or fancy are inscribed. Aristotle's conception of phantasia/imagination is closely bound up with the...

Find Another Essay On Descartes: Imagination

Rene Descartes: French Mathematician and Philosopher

2243 words - 9 pages mentally obtain knowledge rather than trusting the often faulty human body and sensory systems for the obtaining of knowledge (Vanhoozer, 2005, p. 11). Descartes wrote many pieces on mathematics, science, and reasoning during the 17th century, a time known as the Scientific Revolution. His work goes against the typical 17th century thinking that reason and knowledge are properties of the brain while imagination and other sensory experiences are not

Descartes' Views on the Topic of Philosophy of Mind

1134 words - 5 pages Descartes is able to convince himself of the existence of other bodies. Firstly he concludes that it is coherent enough for such bodies to exist as they are in a geometircal form. Second, the fact that our imagination is directed towards the ideas of bodies, means it is possible that such bodies exist. Finally, the faculty of sense perception is an entirely passive ability to receive ideas of physical objects. As one does

Descartes' Meditations

2321 words - 9 pages himself or God. He again confronts the senses of the body. Descartes conjoins the senses of the body with the mind's imagination. He states that imagination is not true intellect, and that because of this, imagination may be misleading and not the truth. As he stated when differing between the mind as a thinking thing distinct from or without a body, he reiterates that the bodies senses are deceiveable, and thus, produce a cloud of doubt over

an essay with personal opinions on hume and descartes on the theory of ideas

613 words - 2 pages David Hume and Rene Descartes are philosophers with opposing views about the origination of ideas. Descartes believed there were three types of ideas which are, innate, adventitious and those from imagination. He stated since he exists and his idea of what a perfect being is, such as God, then God exists. Hume, on the other had, believed ideas came only from one thing, impressions. Both theories have their strengths and weaknesses but I like

René Descartes

1058 words - 4 pages has become hot, and when you tap it there is no sound. This is the wax in its liquid form. So is the wax we see now, the same wax we saw before these changes? Before these changes were apparent, Descartes pointed out the difficulties of relying on the senses, of the physical body. In section 31 of Meditation two, he says that the perception he has, "is a case not of vision or touch or imagination - nor has it ever been, despite previous

Descartes

919 words - 4 pages that the mind and body are separate, thus confirming his beliefs in dualism.Furthermore, Descartes says, "Since I know that bodies are not, properly speaking, perceived by thesenses or by the faculty of imagination, but only by the intellect, and since, moreover, I know that theyare not perceived by being touched or seen, but only insofar as they are expressly understood, nothingcan be more easily and more evidently perceived by me than my mind

Cogito in Brief

942 words - 4 pages every time he thinks something in his mind, he has proof that he exists. It is not possible to think without also existing. This proof, known as the Cogito, is Descartes first development towards his goal of perfect knowledge" (Mind and Body 3). This is why it is necessary to examine this proof so that one can have a better perceptive of the Meditations' meaning (3).Descartes previously gave an example dreaming and imagination, displaying that we

Descartes / Meditation III

798 words - 3 pages the effect. Therefore, God must exist. In other words, the "cause of the idea?must be as real as the idea" (Frost 115). Descartes reasons that his conception of God, as a perfect, infinite, omniscient being, transcends his own ability to imagination. Therefore, the cause of this concept cannot originate in his own mind.Furthermore, Descartes argues in favor of God's existence by virtue of the fact that he exists as a thinking being that as a

Rene Descartes

2268 words - 10 pages conjunction consisting mainly of thoughts and ideas aided by the body to Descartes makes up personal identity. What Descartes is claiming is truly revolutionary, “ walking, sleep, dreams, sensations, hunger, and thirst; memory and imagination; many of the movements of our limbs, all can be explained purely mechanically, that is, on the assumption that our body is a purely physical object only governed by the laws of physics” . While these ideals

The 6th Mediation

1054 words - 5 pages thinking thing and that the body does not think in a way the mind does. Fourth he can have imagination and sensory perception these to Descartes are consider faculties and with these he can better understand himself as whole. Descartes also states that he can produce ideas this goes hand in hand with his fourth conclusion of sense perception and active faculties. His six the sensory perception are either created by god or by the body this is a big

Rene Descartes' Examination of the Nature of Mateial Things and What is Possible to Know of them Based on Passages from Meditations on First Philosophy. (the Wax example)

605 words - 2 pages "How do we know what we know?" This is a question asked by Rene Descartes as well as a host of other philosophers. A particular passage written in Meditations on First Philosophy by Descartes dubbed the "Wax Passage" examined the nature of material things, and what we really know about them. Descartes' thought process shall be followed, and his conclusion that if all attributes are stripped away, what is left is the "essence" of the wax, will be

Similar Essays

The Development Of The Imagination, As Examined By Descartes

1655 words - 7 pages Playing particular attention to meditations II, V, and VI this paper will explore the role of the imagination as examined by Descartes. In the second meditation, Descartes is of the opinion that the imagination and the senses are deceiving him, and that the nature of bodies are perceived by the intellect as opposed to the imagination. Within the body of this paper, the introduction of his wax argument will serve as support for this realization

Rene Descartes' Meditations On First Philosophy

1791 words - 7 pages still needed to develop into the second state he described? These were all things that Rene Descartes did not know the answer to so he decided to further investigate into the significance of the wax being able to change its forms over time. Rene Descartes then decided that he was going to try and piece together how our imaginations perceive the wax. “Is it what my imagination shows it to be: namely, that this piece of wax can change from

Descartes & John Locke Essay

2345 words - 9 pages proceeds to establish that God is good and does not deceive. Descartes uses three points to establish the existence God. These points are ideas. The first one is adventitious ideas; those ideas that come from outside experiences. The second is invented ideas; those that are derived from the imagination such as sirens and chimera. The final is innate ideas; those that are within one when they are born. Descartes uses two more points to further establish

Is God A Deceiver? Essay

1245 words - 5 pages extended in three-dimensional space, it can be divided into specific parts, the mind however, does not occupy space and cannot be divided. The nature of the body according to Descartes was that, unlike the mind, it was divisible. In his third meditation, Descartes makes a distinction between three types of ideas: invented, innate, and adventitious. Innate ideas have always been with us, invented ideas come from our imagination, and adventitious