Descartes Paper Dualism is defined as the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects. (Oxford Dictionary) It is a theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles. Descartes differentiates the mind and the body as distinct from one another. The mind does not extend in space and the body cannot think. Res extensa refers to extended things such as the body and res cogitans refers to mental substances such as the mind. (Gallo week 2 lecture) The essence of the res cogitans is a thinking thing that is non-extended. This concept is believed that minds are made up of non physical substance. Secondary qualities of res cogitans include sense perception and “imagination”. (Gallo week 2 lecture) Descartes discovered this essence of res cogitans by first doubting everything in his First Meditation. He supposes that what he sees does not exist, that his memory is faulty, and that he has no senses and no body. (Descartes 185) The use of hyperbolic doubt leads to the indubitable truth. By doubting everything, even existence, Descartes can point out that senses are misleading and the data which we receive from our sense are not reliable. Descartes introduces two arguments, the Dream Hypothesis and the Evil Demon Hypothesis. In the dream hypothesis, he has perceptions much like the sensations he has while dreaming. He has no definite signs of distinguishing the dream experience and the waking experience. Descartes realizes that it is possible that he is just dreaming and all of his perceptions are false. In the Evil Demon hypothesis, he is going to assume that instead of God being the source of his deceptions, that there is an evil demon is deceiving in the same way that he believed God can. Therefore, he has reasons to doubt his senses as well as the knowledge that he believes it brings him. This allows Descartes to convince himself that nothing exists and by convincing himself that nothing exists, he concludes that he himself exists at the very least as a res cogitans or a thinking thing. Doubting that the physical world exists, which seems to imply that he does not exist, but in order to have doubt, he must exist. “So after considering everything very thoroughly, I must finally conclude that this proposition, I am I exist, is necessarily true whenever it is put forward by me or conceived in my mind.” (Descartes 187) This means that the mere fact that Descartes is thinking, regardless of whether or not what he is thinking is true or false, implies that there must be something that is engaged in the activity of thinking. Therefore, Descartes is certain that he has established a proposition that other truths can be drawn from. Descartes takes a closer look at a piece of wax and what is known about it by the way of his senses alone. The taste of honey, smell of flowers, color, shape and size he sees, the feeling of hardness, and the sound it makes when he wraps on it with his knuckle are all qualities. He observes that when the wax is placed near the fire, all the qualities change but it still takes up space and the wax still exists. The knowledge that the solid piece of wax and the melted wax are still the same does not come from the senses since all the secondary qualities have changed. (Descartes 189) The conclusion Descartes arrives at is that the piece of wax is “merely something extended, flexible, and changeable.” (Descartes 189) Descartes knows that he does not know this through the senses, and realizes that it is impossible for him to know the wax by imagination alone. The wax can change to an infinite number of shapes and Descartes cannot come up with every single shape in his imagination. He must “therefore admit that the nature of this piece of wax is in no way revealed by [his] imagination, but is perceived by the mind alone.” (Descartes 190) Instead, he concludes that he knows the wax from his intelligence and mind only. This proves
September, 21 2012 Philosophy
Thought of themselves as revolutionaries
Revolution says that they had no method to distinguish between what is true and what is not
Descarte believed that learning generally emulates the sciences
Empirical sciences: based on observation (physics and astronomy), apriori: make claims prior to experience (arithmetic and geometry)
Decided the physical sciences didn’t actually generate knowledge in the way he wanted cz scientific claims are probable not certain…
1) The main concern in the Meditations is the certain existences. It connects to “Appearance and Reality” by that it discuss about what really exist and what is just imaginations.
2) Descartes realize that he had believed multitude errors that he had accepted as true. He claims that sometimes the senses can be deceived. Now, he begins a new life from the very foundations, and…
May 1, 2013
The life of Rene Descartes and Bishop Berkeley
Rene Descartes was born on March 31, 1596 in the town of La Haye in the south of France. Descartes also spent time studying philosophy, theology, and medicine.
Descartes believed that the soul was a different entity from the body. He believed that the soul was distinct from the body and could exist without it. He believed that the two had opposite natures and that the body is…
In the field of philosophy, science and mathematics there was one influential person who became prevalent on his time. He was known to be one of the geniuses in the 17th century. He was eminent for his contribution to the methodization of “Analytical Geometry”. He was also recognized as the “Father of Modern Philosophy.” His name was Rene Descartes (1596-1650). He was a French philosopher, mathematician and scientist.
In his early life, Descartes was born in Indre-et-Loire, France. He was the son…
1 being Algebra-->
2 being Geometry -->
Philosophy is self-sufficient, self-dependent
It encompasses all sciences - which in turn encompasses all Mathematics.
Out of all sciences, Mathematics provides sure, indubitable knowledge.
There is additivity in the condition stipulated -> 1+1 = 2
He asked the class if anybody disagreed to this solution.
He explained that math…
believes solely in one’s independent sense-data or one whom believes that one’s mind along with others work independently, remains unclear to many. These different views on the issue have been discussed in several works, including works from René Descartes and Bertrand Russell. This issue is important because it questions reality due to the fact that there is not absolute certainty that everyday things are physically there or are constructed in one’s mind.
Wisdom can only be obtained by forming…
Philosophy Essay (Descartes vs. Locke)
Socrates once said, “As for me, all I know is that I know nothing.” Several philosophers contradicted Socrates’ outlook and believed that true knowledge was in fact attainable. This epistemological view however had several stances to it, as philosophers held different beliefs in regards to the derivation of true knowledge. Rationalists believed that the mind was the source of true knowledge, while in Empiricism, true knowledge derived from the senses. Rene…
of Locke’s critique of innate ideas with explicit reference to Descartes
The debate surrounding innate ideas is not a recent controversy in philosophy as opinions have been known to differ on whether the mind is born with innate knowledge, or whether knowledge is learned. Seventeenth century philosophers John Locke and Rene Descartes held conflicting views on the topic of innatism, with Locke arguing against the idea and Descartes supporting it. This essay will explore Locke’s main criticisms…
October 8, 2014
Mind or Body
"I think therefore I am," the well known quote of Rene Descartes, is the basis of his theory known as dualism. The intermingling of mind and body or res extensa (extended substance) and res cogitans (thinking substance) displays Descartes' ideas of a "genuine human being". Known as the father of modern philosophy, Descartes realized that one could not analyze a problem simply on the common sense level, but that one must probe to the micro-level…
What is the role of God in the writings of Descartes and Pascal?
Both the idea of God and the existence of God play a major role in the writings of Descartes and Pascal. Both certainly appear to believe in him though they argue the case for his existence very differently and they also give Him a very different sort of role in their works. Whilst Descartes claims that he is certain of the existence of God, using a large part of his Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire la raison, et chercher…