Distinction of Mind from Body
Using the arguments from doubt, from clear and distinct perceptions, and from simplicity, Descartes attempts to prove in “The Meditations” that the mind is distinct and separate from the body. This view is now known as Cartesian Dualism. In this essay I will outline Descartes’ main arguments, some of the criticisms of dualism, and my opinion as to which argument I perceive as the most convincing.
The first argument in Cartesian Dualism is the Argument from doubt. Descartes starts by concluding that although he can conceive the possibility that his perception of his own body could in fact be false, he cannot conceive the possibility that he is without a mind. This is because by the
…show more content…
None of this however is of any consequence, if the fundamental aspect of Descartes is called into question: how can he be so sure that he will continue to exist without a body? Descartes seems to argue a very persuasive point, as long as it is argued on his terms, which is a point I will touch on later. The third argument is the argument from simplicity, and it stems from the idea that everything extended is divisible into parts. The body is extended, and so is therefore divisible into separate parts. However, Descartes did not believe that the mind was divisible into parts, even though areas are labelled differently, and are associated with different cognitive processes. This is because he believed that these differently labelled parts all have the same driving force behind them. So if the mind cannot be divisible into parts, and all extended things can be divisible into parts, then the mind cannot be an extended thing. This leads to the conclusion that the mind is of a different substance from the body, and must therefore be separable and distinct. Today we know that destroying any one part of the brain can cause a detriment in speech/ sight/ memory etc., but Descartes would quite happily agree with this, as he would say that the brain does play some part in