Philosophical Thinking

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Student’s Name
Name of the Professor
Philosophical Thinking
Thesis: With specific reasonable arguments, the essay will make an argument that
Descartes premises are implausible and make certain mistakes in the way he tries to
dissociate mind from the body which makes his argument weak.
Dualism, as discussed in the Cartesian, is an argument from doubt. Descartes begins with
a conclusion that despite his well-conceived possibilities, the perceptions of the body
could be in fact a false, he cannot comprehend that likelihood of him without the mind.
He makes another argument that through meditation the mind is without doubt distinctive
from the rest of the body. Descartes holds that the mind can, in fact, exists void of the
body, and can also live without the body.
He further makes an argument that from the simplicity point of view that everything is
extended and visible into parts. The different parts of the body and the body itself are all
visible thereby implying that they can be separated into a distinct part like the legs, arms,
eyes, and others. However, when examining the same case with the mind, it is impossible
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to divide into small parts even though there are different labels associated with the
specific cognitive aspects.
Destroying one part of the brain can result in serious impacts including effects on speech,
sight, memory and other functionalities of the mind and the body like paralysis that could
result from brain damage.
There are issues associated with the dualism argument given that the argument is only
successful in a situation where it based on the Cartesian presuppositions.
Another subject of debate in the argument presented by Descartes dualism has to do with
the interaction of the body and the mind.
Descartes seems to try to please the church and the philosophy which seems to contradict
his scientific approach.
Elimination of everything and keeping of other psychological characteristics fails to show
Descartes commitment to demonstrate soul as a conscious thing.
Descartes makes an argument from doubt which implies that he unable to convince or conceive
an existence of immaterial entity void of matter. It is only confusing the way he fails to
substantiate the psychological and self that makes one believe that he is unable to affirm a priori
that could exist as a mind and be able to assert that he is a mind.
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One of the most lasting arguments of Descartes is that the body and the mind are two distinct
features. The thesis has come to be termed as “mind-body dualism.” He makes a conclusion that
the nature of the body and the mind are imperatively distinct given that the body is an extension
and non-thinking thing while the mind is a non-extended thinking thing. The premise holds that
one can exist void of the other in what is the famous casual interaction between the body and the
mind. It is unclear of how the body and can exist void of brain given that the mind is the one that
causes the body to function like when one wants to move the limbs, legs, the eyes to close, and
others if the nature of the two that is the body and brain can exist void of each other as Descartes
explains. The discourse of the Meditation of the First Philosophy as proposed by Descartes
proposes that the mind is something that is unique from the body and the two can be separated,
however, it fails to create the environment in which the two can exists void of each other.
Therefore, with specific reasonable arguments, the essay will make an argument that Descartes
premises are implausible and make certain mistakes in the way it tries to dissociate the mind
from the body which makes his argument weak.
What is the real distinction?
Descartes tries to makes a ‘real distinction” in a technical way in the manner in which he
tries to substantiate two or more things (Descartes part 1, section 60). He makes the argument
that a substance is an independent thing that does not require the existence of another thing for it
to exist. A substance exists with just the concurrence of God whereas mode is an extended thing
which requires a substance to exist. For instance, a blunt object can exist on its own without
requiring any substance to exist. That implies that existence does not depend on mind or other
bodies which leads Descartes to believe that God could create a world where blunt objects only
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exist without body or the mind. Accordingly, Descartes makes an argument that God can make a
decision to split the body from the mind and let the two exist void of each other. This argument
fails to imply or distinctively show whether or not substance does exist separately. The argument
is purely based on the untouchable facts and a void thesis. One cannot clearly see the basis of the
argument as it depends mostly on the religious discourse and assumptions that imply many other
things and not just the body and the mind.
The concept of Dualism as discussed in the Cartesian is an argument from doubt.
Descartes begins with a conclusion that despite his well-conceived possibilities, the perceptions
of the body could be in fact a false, he cannot comprehend that likelihood of him without the
mind. Through a Cogito argument, Descartes establishes his own existence and makes an inquiry
into the nature of self which believes with certainty that it exists. He arrives at a conclusion that
he is un-extended entity whose primary role is to be conscious or what is termed as res cogitans.
Despite that, he makes tremendous effort to explain how he arrives that the conclusion the
discourse is unrelated and to a large extent unconvincing. Some critics have insisted that his
premise “entirely and absolutely distinct” is not articulate effectively by the reasoning he
provides given that he provides sketchy arguments and makes erroneous errors in reaching to his
argument. For instance, one error is that he fails to explain the case that is an entity does not have
all corporeal properties then it must have some other attributes for it to exist in the first place.
Stating merely that it does not have certain properties or what he explains as non-extended then
this argument does not hold water given that it only repeats that it is not a corporeal thing. The
discourse is then condensed down to psychological traits which are the only supportive
“nonphysical” characteristics attributed to a person.
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Moreover, just removing everything and retaining psychological attributes does not
explain Descartes argument to hold that the mind is always thinking given that an entity could
have un-actualizes dispositions at any particular point. The analogy is drawn from the
deliberation of the thought and the extension. He explained that “by though…not a universal
comprehension all the modes of thinking…extension is a nature which receives all the shapes…”
One would, therefore, infer to this argument and make a conclusion that just as the body exists as
an extension one form or another, then an entity soul could exist when consciousness is
manifested in thoughts or feelings. Such a claim cannot be explained in a realistic world.
Moreover, Descartes fails to explain or justify how one would know if they indeed exist devoid
of the body.
The simplicity argument stems from the idea that anything extended can be divisible into
parts. He argues that the body is divisible since it is an extension. For example, one can do away
with his or her fingers given that they are part of the body and one can exist without them. To a
large extent, a part of the body like the whole leg or limb could also be removed and one
continues to exist. However, the brain or the mind is not an extension, hence, it none of its parts
can be removed and one continues to exists. This leads to his conclusion that if the mind cannot
be divisible then it is made from a different substance from the body thereby implying that it can
be separable and it is distinct. This continues the debate to the next level that the mind must, in
this light, continue to function or reason even when one is asleep. However, it is believed that if
one is thinking continuously then one should be aware of their thought even during deep sleep.
The truth is that in most cases individuals are not aware of anything when in deep sleep which
discredits the argument presented by Descartes.
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Another subject of debate in the argument presented by Descartes dualism has to do with
the interaction of the body and the mind. There is no clear-cut point of how the mind and body
interact going by the Descartes dualism. If the two are distinct and separate from each other, then
it is not clear how they come to interact at any given period. As much as, Descartes would at first
argue that soul is uniquely “united” with the body, it is unjustifiable how the union has come to
exist in the first place. For instance, it is reasonable that the mind would not need the body and
thus can exist without the body. In this view, the mind does not have to offer supportive
functionalities to the body given that it can exist without the material body. The explanation
provided by Descartes fails to give any supportive reasons as to why the mind would see the
need to support the body in an environment where it can exist alone.
In his Sixth meditation Descartes notes that he as an individual is an incorporeal entity:
And first of all, because I know that all things which I apprehend clearly and distinctly can be
created by God as I apprehended them, it suffices that I am able to apprehend one thing apart
from another clearly and distinctly in order to be certain that the one is different from the other,
since they may be made to exist in separation at least by the omnipotence of God… (Descartes)
From the argument, he assumes that he exists because he is, in fact, a thinking thing. He
believed that he possess a material body with which he is fully combined. However, the
distinctness of a person and his body as detailed in the argument of the Cartesian dualism fails to
appear as an entailed straightforward being as fundamentally a physical entity. This implies that
physical properties that belong to “me” can exist as belonging to another thing. They may belong
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to a person or simply not belong to a person which can clearly be interpreted as the mind can
even be taken to the body of a beast and the then continues to exist as uniquely enjoined with the
animal or any other thing. Clearly, such an argument is weak and does not in any way explain
why the body and the mid would only complement each other given a situation where each
would be in a position to exists as a distinct and independent thing to each other.
Moreover, Descartes fails to defend his claim or even show how established such remarks
that he could exist devoid of his body. His claim does not hold ground to even convince himself
how his soul could exist without a body at any given time. His central theme is that he tries to
argue that he is aware of himself as existing without a body as when one goes to meditation, the
person becomes aware of the self and the body becomes much like an extension that only
accommodates the soul. The nonphysical being is in this case supported by the physical
extension. Such an argument is ambiguous in that at no given time has the body and the mind
operated independently of each other.
The objection that Descartes failed to reconcile his existence without corporeal attributes
(Hatfield 110). He used psychological aspects to defend his dualistic approach to personal
identity whereas non-psychological criterion is to a large extent ignored or assumed in the
construction of identity. In this sense, the psychological criterion seems to make more sense
since the identity of the person is being constructed. Failure to which makes his argument less
plausible and reasonable to make a substantiated claim that is successful.
Again, Descartes seems to try to please the church and the philosophy which seems to
contradict his scientific approach. His argument tries to preserve the likelihood of the Christian
faith of a soul which could survive without the body. The doctrine is derived from the biblical
teachings of possible life after death where the souls are preserved while the body perishes once
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a person dies. The body is in this case viewed as a purely material thing and subject to external
forces, hence, separable from the domain of the spiritual world. The mind and the body, in this
view, are separable given that the body is a just material extension. This argument can be partly
accepted if only the argument is looked from a Christian faith point of view. However,
examining the argument from a scientific point then it fails to many any logical sense.
The essay holds that if something has corporeal features, then it exists due those
attributes. If an entity does not have the corporal attributes then it is corporeal in any way. Then
the argument from doubt as discussed can be highlighted as if Descartes is not corporeal, he is
not real at all. The discussion as noted shows that Descartes could not prove him as being an
incorporeal, thinking thing. He fails to show how the body can exist as an independent thing
while at the same time the mind does the same. Descartes “argument from doubt” in the
mediations proves that he visualizes an immaterial entity existing in a world without matter
which has psychological attributes like his own. This assertion does not by itself affirm or allow
him to make the claim that he is such an entity. Therefore, the essay concludes that the dualism
argument in the meditations of first philosophy is not successful in making the claim that body
and mind are distinct and can exist separately.
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Works Cited
Descartes, René. Meditations on first philosophy: in which the existence of God and the
distinction between mind and body are demonstrated. Stonewell Press, 2014.
Descartes, Rene. Meditation on the first philosophy: In which existence of God and the
distinction of the soul from the body are demonstrated. Translated by Donald A, Cress.
Hackett Publishing Company. Print.
Hatfield, Gary. Routledge philosophy guidebook to Descartes and the Meditations. Routledge,

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