Descartes Meditations Essay

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Philosophy

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In the western culture, Plato is popularly known for promoting the mind-body dualism concept that pushed through the idea that spiritual form existed above the physical world in a different level altogether. However, opponents of dualism (monists) hold the view that since the concept cannot be scientifically proven it is false. This objection, however, does not hold true for not everything that exists in our world can be explained through scientific means. Therefore, the dualism concept as Descartes puts it can be said to be true. According to Descartes, the body has unique properties that differentiate it from the mind. Descartes goes on to argue that our ideas regarding the body and mind are clear and distinct. Furthermore, he claims just as the thought is not far from the mind; nothing is far from the body than extension.

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Thus, our ideas about the body and mind highlight the differences that exist between the mind and the body. Therefore, it would not be necessary for God to create bodies after creating minds. Likewise, after creating entities, there would be no need for God creating minds. One may argue that Elizabeth's argument does not directly challenge Descartes argument since it disputes the interaction of the mind and body. However, the issue of interaction creates doubt to Cartesian thought as unless the body and mind interact; the dualism concept becomes questionable. Elizabeth's argument emanates from her observations in the physical world. From her point of view, movement in one entity causes action in a different thing. Thus, it would be inconceivable how the movement would occur without things such as surfaces and contact.

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One area of questioning would be how the body is incapable of perceiving feelings, nourishment, and pain without the aid of the mind. It would seem absurd that one cannot distinguish that he/she is thirsty or hungry just by "listening" to the body. Descartes also hold that the body cannot be subdivided into different parts, but we know that the mind is capable of carrying out various activities in multiple sections. With clarification on these areas, the argument on dualism will undoubtedly hold, as it is evident that the body and mind are two separate entities. We have seen that the concept of mind-body dualism is a hot topic of discussion with a majority of philosophers being against the idea of the distinction between the mind and body.

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