Professor: Darya Myers
June 05, 2013
Rene Descartes Rene Descartes was a highly influential French philosopher, scientist and mathematician, who was widely considered one of the celebrated geniuses of the sixteen century. He is also known as the “Father of Modern Philosophy.” Descartes grew up in a society where ideas and thoughts were not questioned, but were supposed to be accepted without being compromised. Descartes began to stride in the field of philosophy at a young age. He challenged and accepted ideas from others. In his essay “The Four Meditation of Truth and Error” Descartes talks about understanding of body and mind, he also states the impossibility of an imperfection in God, and he writes that God holds him responsible for all his faults and judgments.
First, Descartes believed that the body and mind are two different entities and they are not depending on each other to exist. Throughout history philosophers have tried to come up with an explanation of how and where our minds and consciousness come from, and how we are able to have a physical body that feels sensations like hunger or thirst. Sensations do not belong the body, but they do not belong to the mind either. Rather, they belong to the combination of the two, the union of mind and body. Descartes believed that mind and body are different; he also believed that minds have an extremely intimate connection to certain bodies that is to human bodies. Descartes started his argument by writing that the mind is a “thinkable think and doesn’t participate in anything that pertains to the body” (Descartes 465). Descartes understanding is that the mind is better off than the body and realizes he could learn from his body. For example, we can learn from our bodies’ reaction like pain if we touch a flame, or pleasure when we drink a cup of coffee. Also, we can learn from our senses when we see beautiful views (465). It is important to distinguish between the body and mind. For example, if we feel pain we need to know where it is comes from the body or mind to be able to feel better. Descartes does not give enough evidence as to why he believes that the body and mind are two different entities. The body cannot survive on its own, it needs the mind to tell it to move or sit and the mind cannot survive without the body pumping blood from the heart. However, what we learn from our body doesn’t necessarily exceed what we already know in our minds. For example, if we witness somebody burning their hand we will perceive it differently than if we were burning our own hand that is because of the union of body and mind. Descartes theory gives us a hope of life after death if our mind and body can exist apart, then our soul can survive the death of our body. Also, Descartes stated that “his existence is totally depended on God in every moment of his life that he doesn’t think that the human mind can know anything with more clearness and certainty” (465). Descartes wrote that his most certain knowledge is that God exists and it comes from the intellectual and not from his senses or the imagination because at any moment he could be dreaming and his senses could be deceiving him either by God or by some negative (Evil) and he concludes that he can’t trust in his senses about anything (467). Second, Descartes states the impossibility of an imperfection in God because he seems to believe that it is his human nature that opens him up to error, but that open the question of whether God could be responsible for his finite nature. Descartes began to question about why God being the benevolent God that he is, did not will for him not to error. Then, he provides the reason for God’s creations is incomprehensible, and the perfection of God’s creation can be found when observing the universe as a whole and not by focusing just in one thing on its own. The reason for God’s creations is incomprehensible because he thinks God to be infinite in…