Essay about Meditations on First Philosophy by Rene Descartes

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In his work, Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes writes to rid pre-conceptions, and disprove all belief in thoughts that are not certain, accepting only what can be known for sure. In his Meditation VI: Of the Existence of Material Things, and the Real Distinction between the Mind and Body of Man, he discusses his belief that the mind and body are two separate substances, claiming that the nonmaterial mind and the material body, while being ontologically distinct substances, causally interact; a belief called Cartesian dualism.
Descartes explains that he has a clear and distinct idea of himself as a thinking and non-extended thing, and a clear and distinct idea of his body as a non-thinking and extended thing. He argues that it is possible for God to create anything that can be clearly and distinctly perceived, and therefore if God creates something to be independent of another, they are, in fact, distinctive. Thus, because Descartes can understand himself as a thinking thing that does not require the existence of a body, and can understand his body as an extended thing that does not require a mind, that this must be truth. Therefore he concludes that the mind is a substance distinct from the body, a substance whose essence is thought.

The mind, which is being so heavily debated amongst philosophers, is essentially the aspect of the soul that pertains to thought and intellect. The soul is, as Descartes correctly argues, distinct from the physical body. The mind interacts with the brain, connecting and responding based on one’s personalized and individual soul.

A considerable argument raised against this theory is the problem of interactionism, which makes the case that something intangible cannot inter...

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... the possibility of God creating a mind that can function without a body holds no evidence for truth.

In conclusion, the mind is the feature of the intangible soul that pertains to intellect and thought. It is individual and personalized, interacting and corresponding with the physical body to generate ideas and emotions. The soul and body depend on one another. A soulless body would be incapable of abstract thought and emotion, but left with only impulses and reactions. A bodiless soul would be incapable of thinking, feeling, or even functioning at all. To claim that the mind and body could be separated would take away any sense of individuality, personality, and temperament that we so evidently see in every single human interaction. Our physical beings are unmistakably driven by something more than bodily function without abstract thought or feeling.

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