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

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 opinion and strict absolute certainty. To make this consideration he establishes that he must first "attack those principles which supported everything I once believed." He first examines those beliefs that require our senses. He questions, whether our senses are true indicators of what they represent. By inspecting our sometimes firm belief in the reality of dreams, he comes to the conclusion that our senses are prone to error and thereby cannot reliably distinguish between certainty and falsity. To examine those ideas that have "objective reality," Descartes makes the improbable hypothesis of "an evil genius, as clever and deceitful as he is powerful, who has directed his entire effort to misleading me." By proposing this solution he is able to suspend his judgment and maintain that all his former beliefs are false. By using doubt as his tool, Descartes is now ready to build his following proofs with certainty. In Meditation two, Descartes embarks on his journey of truth. Attempting to affirm the idea that God must exist as a fabricator for his ideas, he stumbles on his first validity: the notion that he exists. He ascertains that if he can both persuade himself of something, and likewise be deceived of something, then surely he must exist. This self validating statement is known as the Cogito Argument. Simply put it implies whatever thinks exists. Having established this, Descartes asks himself: What is this I which "necessarily exists"? Descartes now begins to explore his inner consciousness to find the essence of his being. He disputes that he is a "rational animal" for this idea is difficult to understand. He scrutinizes whether perhaps he is a body infused with a soul but this idea is dismissed since he cannot be certain of concepts that are of the material world. Eventually he focuses on the act of thinking and from this he posits: "I am a thing that thinks" A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, and that also imagines and senses. To prove that perception on the part of the mind is more real than that of the senses Descartes asks us to consider a piece of wax. Fresh from the comb the qualities we attribute to the wax are those derived from the senses. Melted, the qualities that we attribute to the wax are altered and can only be known to the intellect. Descartes demonstrates how the information from the senses gives us only the observable, it is the mind that allows us to understand. The results of the second meditation are considerable, doubt has both proven the certainty of...

Find Another Essay On Descartes - Mind and Body.

Analysis of Descartes’ Mind/Body Distinction

1174 words - 5 pages In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes states “I have a clear and distinct idea of myself, in as far as I am only a thinking and unextended thing, and as, on the other hand, I possess a distinct idea of body, in as far as it is only an extended and unthinking thing”. [1] The concept that the mind is an intangible, thinking entity while the body is a tangible entity not capable of thought is known as Cartesian Dualism. The purpose of

The Mind-body problem in Descartes Meditations

1402 words - 6 pages Descartes as a thinking thing. Therefore his mind is much clearer and more distinctly know to him than his body. Using this line of reasoning, Descartes has distinguished the mind from the body.Since he proved that God does exist he can says that God can bring anything into existence. But we also seem to know God exists through imagination, which seems to be an application of the knowing faculty to a body intimately present to it, hence, a body

Discuss the mind-body problem, its origin in Descartes' philosophy, Descartes' solution and other relevant reactions, including you own?

524 words - 3 pages Descartes brought the mind-body dualism forward to prominence. It was his attempt to give credit to the immaterial, to acknowledge and validate God and the soul, to understand the mind separate from the body. What is consciousness? Is it free or unchained? What are the limits of my mind and body? How are they related? These are issues Descartes was trying to resolve and answer.These 'truths' were first sounded in Meditations on First Philosophy

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’ 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

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 Descartes' Arguments for the immateriality of the mind/soulDescartes is one of the rationalists, who believed that the only way to acquire knowledge is through reason; as opposed to empiricists, who thought it is possible only through sense experience. This shaped Descartes' view of human nature as dualism. He believed that human mind/soul and body are totally different entities. He defined mind as non-extended entity with notions of thought

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 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 Benedictus de Spinoza who provides a counter-example to Descartes' "dualism," namely what is known as the "double aspect theory." By analyzing the views of both philosophers we can see which

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 body is by its very nature always divisible while the mind is utterly indivisible." (Descartes, 1641 6th Mediation). The distinction is

The mind-body relation at descartes

2861 words - 11 pages Prințesa Elizabeta; Descartes către Prințesa Elizabeta, 28 iunie 1634. Corespondența a fost preluată din volumul Baird, F. and Kaufmann, W. (ed.), Modern Philosophy,Prentice Hall, 2008Aceasta este, într-adevăr, o problemă deoarece Descartes lasă demonstrașia deschisă; nu oferă nici un argument pentru faptul că gândirea este singurul atribut al sufletului. La acest atribut s-a

Descartes and the mind

1105 words - 5 pages that there was something out there that was correct. He was still not sure of what this thing was though. Also why would one’s creator not want one to get anything right? Descartes also knew that there is a God but he was not sure who this God is at this point. And once again Descartes goes back to what he started with the problem of mind and body. Once again consumed with doubt. He concludes that “without doubt he exists, and if this evil

Mind And Body

751 words - 3 pages The mind and body are said to be two different entities that have different characteristics. Many have argued that each holds its own properties and can be without the other. In my opinion, the mind and body are distinguishable in there properties but are derived from the other. The mind and body are codependent on each other and need the other in making decisions. The mind requires the body to learn, experience so as to make accurate

Similar Essays

Essence Of Mind And Body For Descartes

1096 words - 4 pages The mind/body problem has been a major topic debated by many esteemed philosophers over the past centuries. Many philosophers have attempted to uncover the truth between the disparity between the mind and the body; however their endeavors were futile. The idea of mind is difficult topic to apprehend because of its abstract nature. A philosopher by the name of Rene Descartes is one of the few thinkers to dissect and assess the mind/body problem

Descartes On The Mind And Body

834 words - 4 pages 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

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

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