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Descartes On The Mind And Body

834 words - 4 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 incorrect. As a result Descartes has not proved that there are two distinct substances in the world and thus his understanding of substances is incorrect.
According to Descartes the two substances the world is made of are matter and the mind. He states that matter is defined by its ability to be extended in space, thus anything that takes up space can be considered matter . He states that the mind is the ability to think, this means that intellectual activity is the defining feature of the mind. He states that we are able to know that the two are different since he can distinctly perceive of matter and minds separately. Also minds are indivisible while matter is dividable so they can also not be the same thing .
Descartes believes the mind and body to be distinct since matter can be divided while the mind is undividable. He states that this is because aspects of the mind are indistinguishable from one another while the matter is distinguishable . Thus the memory and the intellect would not be able to be divided since you can’t distinguish them. But by naming something than have we not already distinguished it? It appears that the memory and the intellect are already distinguished since they do different tasks inside of the mind. If they do different tasks then they must be different things since something can only do what it is made to do, for example an eye can only see but not smell. If two things are different than they can be divided since they different, thus the mind is also divisible.
Descartes follows this up by stating that since the there is no immediate change to mind when the matter changes so they must be different. This is not true since the mind is directly effect by the bodies’ sense perceptions. Every time we sense anything the mind appears to completely comprehend that it has happened. Thus there is a connection between the body and mind. So if matter were to change the mind would sense it. This sensing changes the knowledge...

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