Descartes' Second and Sixth and Meditations Essay

Descartes' Second and Sixth and Meditations Essay

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Throughout Descartes second and sixth meditations there seems to be a tension rising between the fact of whether or not the mind and body are distinct. By analyzing both meditations it appears that Descartes’ perspectives are contradictory of each other and need to be further evaluated in order to reveal his true meaning. By saying, in the second meditation, that we perceive things by means of our intellect alone, and in the sixth meditation, that we do not perceive pain by means of the intellect alone but rather by an intermingling of our intellect and our senses, Descartes brings forth the questionable tension. By examining each meditation, I was able to determine what I believe that Descartes truly meant and was able to critically evaluate his material in order to conclude that it is our senses that inform us of what is happening externally, but it is our mind and intellect which perceives and organizes the information that we have received.
Throughout his second meditation, Descartes references the Wax Argument in order to solidify his opinion that, as human beings, we know things through our intellect rather than through our senses and that it is our individual mind that we know better than anything else. By stating,
“even bodies are not strictly perceived by the senses or the faculty of imagination but by the intellect alone, and that this perception derives not from their being touched or seen by from their being understood…”

Descartes is able to validate his point of view regarding the fact that it is the person’s mind that defines the object rather than their senses. The argument begins by Descartes visualizing an exceptionally distinct piece of wax and describing it by means of his sensory perceptions; such as i...


... middle of paper ...


...ut the help of our senses informing us of what is going on in the external world. It is our senses that inform us of what is happening externally, but it is our mind and intellect which perceives and organizes the information that we have received. The Wax argument was effective in demonstrating how difficult it is to solely rely on our senses to understand everything that is happening around us. By focusing on the larger argument, that I know myself better than anything known by my senses, seems to say that everything that I thought I knew through my senses, can really only be known by using my intellect. It is essential to use our senses to fully understand the nature of things, but using only the senses results in an inadequate determination of the truth. It is only possible to truly know things when we use and understand them through our mind and intellect.



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