Essay on Descartes ' Most Popular Theory

Essay on Descartes ' Most Popular Theory

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One of Descartes’ most popular theory? is the distinction between mind and body. This is known as substance dualism. Substance dualism is a human being consists of two kinds of things that interact. Using this theory of substance dualism, we can explain why some people can experience excruciating pains and urges like the phantom limb syndrome.
The article, The Itch, by Atul Gawande follows a woman who has a constant itching feeling in her scalp. Her life started out normal but after a few unfortunate events she now has “the itch”. This itch has caused her to become partially paralyzed in the left side of her body. She has even scratched through her skull overnight because the sensation is too overpowering. The explanation of her itch follows the same thought process that Descartes had in meditation six. Meditation six could be used to help explain the itch and the infamous phantom limb theory.
In Meditation Six, Descartes introduces the problem of the existence of material things by saying objects exist since he can clearly and distinctly perceive them but because of imagination, it can be a deception. He claims this is true since God is not deceiving, but since imagination can give evidence of the existence of external objects he wanted to know more. He first made the distinction between imagination and intellect. He explains how imagination is distinct from thought since we can think of things without intuiting them as present (62). Descartes considers that “this power of imagining that is in [us], insofar as it differs from the power of understanding, is not required for [our] own essence, that is, the essence of [our] mind” (62). Since effort is required for imagination and no effort is required for thought, imagination is n...


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...rguments he concluded that there is a relationship between the mind and body. The feelings of pain and pleasure are all modes of perception which is why some may feel pain from something that brings others pleasure. The senses only tell us what is necessary for the welfare of the composite of mind and body. God is not to blame for this fault because like Descartes claims, the body is like a machine. Since the mind is indivisible while the body is divisible, mind and body are distinct. Mind is only affected by the brain, therefore all signals from the body have to travel up to the brain. Signals travel to the brain from the periphery of our body. We can get signals in the brain that do not originate from our senses when we think it does. His final conclusion is that God is not at fault and our bodies are the reason why there is a disrupt between our minds and bodies.

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