Descartes' Second And Sixth And Meditations

1183 words - 5 pages

Throughout Descartes second and sixth meditations there seems to be a tension rising between the fact of whether or not the mind and body are distinct. By analyzing both meditations it appears that Descartes’ perspectives are contradictory of each other and need to be further evaluated in order to reveal his true meaning. By saying, in the second meditation, that we perceive things by means of our intellect alone, and in the sixth meditation, that we do not perceive pain by means of the intellect alone but rather by an intermingling of our intellect and our senses, Descartes brings forth the questionable tension. By examining each meditation, I was able to determine what I believe that Descartes truly meant and was able to critically evaluate his material in order to conclude that it is our senses that inform us of what is happening externally, but it is our mind and intellect which perceives and organizes the information that we have received.
Throughout his second meditation, Descartes references the Wax Argument in order to solidify his opinion that, as human beings, we know things through our intellect rather than through our senses and that it is our individual mind that we know better than anything else. By stating,
“even bodies are not strictly perceived by the senses or the faculty of imagination but by the intellect alone, and that this perception derives not from their being touched or seen by from their being understood…”

Descartes is able to validate his point of view regarding the fact that it is the person’s mind that defines the object rather than their senses. The argument begins by Descartes visualizing an exceptionally distinct piece of wax and describing it by means of his sensory perceptions; such as its shape, taste, size, smell, et cetera. Next he melts the wax, which in return, rids it of all of the qualities we originally perceived of it with our senses. Even though the shape, taste and feel of the wax is different from what our senses originally perceived it as, it seems as though we would say it was still the same piece of wax. Within his second meditation, Descartes asks, “But does the same wax remain? It must be admitted that it does; no one denies it, no one thinks otherwise.” This observation brings forth the question of what it is about the wax that makes it distinct from other objects, because it is obviously not our sensory perceptions that make us recognize its distinctiveness. With the intention of trying to determine how it is that we recognize the wax despite its change in appearance, we first must reflect that despite what the wax truly is, it is not solely perceived by senses, instead it is only by those sensory perceptions that the wax is presented to us. If we take away the qualities recognized first by our senses, we are now left with something that Descartes explains as being “extended, flexible, and changeable” . These tendencies seem to divulge the fact that it is not the ability of our...

Find Another Essay On Descartes' Second and Sixth and Meditations

Doubt and the Meditations Essay

1715 words - 7 pages Within Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes undertakes a worthy goal: the discovery of the sources of doubt with the ultimate result being more truthful opinions, assertions, and arguments. Descartes was well ahead of his times, forging a pathway to more rigorous scholarship through the casting of doubt upon his “opinions”. Unfortunately, however, Descartes was either unable or unwilling to cast doubt upon his primary source of

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

Descartes and God

1158 words - 5 pages probably, however we will only look at one such person. Rene Descartes attempts to use his own logic to come up with the conclusion that a perfect being does exist and that being is in itself God in his book Meditations on First Philosophy. We must first look at the background of Descartes thought process in the first two meditations where he explores the existence of himself and the use of methodic doubt, in order to get a feel on his position of

Descartes and Dualism

624 words - 2 pages things are merely the delusions of dreams" (Descartes' Meditations as cited in Cottingham 23) which the demon has devised. By being able to convince himself of ideas and by being able to be deceived by the demon, Descartes could assume that he existed.  He also came to the conclusion that if he were to cease from thinking, he would cease to exist entirely (Cottingham 28).   "I regard the body as a machine so built and put together

Descartes - Mind and Body

2270 words - 9 pages ? By examining the inferential, intuitional and epistemic interpretations, we can discover which interpretation of the Cogito was meant by Descartes in Meditation two. At first it seems obvious that Descartes had meant for the Cogito to be an inferential argument. Of the key propositions in the Meditations all seem to have the commonality of thinking as their first premise. Similarly the second premise and the conclusion seem to follow the same

Descartes and Aristotle

1616 words - 7 pages final cause. The philosopher Descartes, tried to explain God’s existence through the six meditations. He also explains how Aristotle’s explanations through the senses are unrealiable. Aristotle starts distinguishing the existence of things by explaining the forms and matter. Forms are the essences of the thing that allows us to classify things together. In nature the forms are visualized separately, but only by the mind can the forms be

Descartes and Berkeley

1073 words - 5 pages Rene Descartes builds his epistemic views in his meditations. In Meditation 1, he set out to rid himself of the false knowledge which was the foundation for which he built his life. If there was any doubt to these foundational beliefs, he threw the idea out. Descartes broke down his beliefs in Mediation 2 and found that he is a thinking thing and because he thinks, he exists. That is, he knew he is at least a mind. By Meditation 3

Descartes and the mind

1105 words - 5 pages genius wants to deceive him then he will let him, for he could not cause him to do anything as long as Descartes still thought that he was something” (Meditation II 171). Works Cited Descartes, Rene. Meditation II. Leiden: Michael Soly of Paris, 1641. —. Meditations IV. Leiden : Michael Soly of Paris, 1641. Palmer, Donald. Does The Center Hold? New York: Mcgraw-Hill, 2014. Rachels, James and Stuart. Problems from Philosophy. New York: Mcgraw-Hill, 2012.

Descartes and New Science

1675 words - 7 pages we know that the fundamental properties of the world are those and only those that the new science identified as fundamental? For Descartes, it basically comes down to clear and distinct perception. If there is no way to argue against the property and have no doubts of its existence or its reality then it is a property. We have already listed what the fundamental properties are. Descartes supports all the properties in his Meditations as clear

Descartes and the Matrix

823 words - 3 pages Chris MendivilPhilosophyIsaac"The Reality of Our Existence: The Matrix and Descartes"Released in 1999, "The Matrix" managed to captivate audiences all over the world with innovative slow motion fight scenes, incredible special effects, and with the introduction of the often imitated directing technique, the "Bullet Time"; and whereas these certain components made the film incredibly successful and a cultural phenomenon, a great deal of the most

Descartes and his theories

653 words - 3 pages that is external to him mainly - God?There are three ways, Descartes explains, that one may come to the conclusion of an objects existence. The first is through nature. The second is through feeling an object independent of one's will, for example; heat and cold. The third, and most elaborated upon is the point of cause and effect, or more simply, the objective reality of an idea. We will primarily deal with the third reason of cause and

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’ First And Second Mediations Essay

800 words - 4 pages , mathematics belief, comprehensive belief and the rest. ii. In his second mediation, Descartes decided to reject the slightest possibility that a belief is false and he decided not to throw away the suspected false belief but to use it as a candidate for knowledge. Having concluded his mediations, this greatest thinker decided to apply his two methods using the following three ways. a) Descartes believed that sometimes human senses are deceptive

Comparing Knowledge In Descartes’ Meditations On First Philosophy And Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning

923 words - 4 pages Comparing Knowledge in Descartes’ Meditations on First Philosophy and Hume’s An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Rationalists would claim that knowledge comes from reason or ideas, while empiricists would answer that knowledge is derived from the senses or impressions. The difference between these two philosophical schools of thought, with respect to the distinction between ideas and impressions, can be examined in order

The Folly Of René Descartes’ Discourse On Method And Meditations On First Philosophy

1488 words - 6 pages The Folly of René Descartes’ Discourse on Method and Meditations on First Philosophy In order to embark on his quest for truth, Descartes first devises his four rules which should serve as a solid foundation for all else that he comes to understand. Those rules are here evaluated in terms of what they fail to take into consideration. The rules are examined individually and consecutively, and are therefore also reiterated in order to be