Essay on Descartes ' The Coffee House By Rene Descartes

Essay on Descartes ' The Coffee House By Rene Descartes

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It was a warm morning in an Austrian Coffee-house. The building was bustling with conversation and brimming with activity. However all I could focus on was a pale, bearded man sitting across from me, writing in a dishevelled notebook. I took a glance and found this mysterious man’s name on the cover: John Macmurray. Suddenly, there was a crash as the shops’ doors opened, and a well-kept man with flowing hair made his way down to the counter. As he passed a hush fell on the coffee-house. It was then that I recognised this mysterious customer from my philosophy class- it was Rene Descartes! This imposing figure began to speak to a server:

Descartes: My mind would very much like a coffee, thank you

A look of curiosity washed over Macmurray’s face before standing up to inspect Descartes.

Macmurray: Well, you say that as if your mind can be considered a separate entity

Descartes: Of course, it’s the only logical conclusion to such inquisition [g]

The coffee-house began to look on in anticipation, myself included

Macmurray: How exactly did you arrive at this conclusion?

Descartes: It is quite a simple matter. To provide an example, say I desired to determine whether this Coffee I hold existed at all. In order to do this it would be necessary examine the arguments for the negative, that is, question its existence, correct?

Macmurray: Yes, of course

Descartes: Ah, but by the process of thinking and questioning, some thinking and questioning element must reside, which forms my mind [b]. However, what is known of the body? A body has the property of extension [1], for a body which doesn’t occupy space is fundamentally inconceivable. Therefore, the mind, a thinking non-extended object is contrasted with the body, an extended, non-t...


... middle of paper ...


...ing to me. Certainly the driving factors for the actions of humans appear to stray significantly from the base urges of animals, however I cannot help but question as to whether these motivations cannot be understood as the result of more organic pressures. In the case of the ascetics, it may be that their actions form a community, fulfilling a biological imperative for socialisation[k]. Therefore, while I hold some reservations, I feel that your argument is generally sound. That said, I would like to thank you and Mr Descartes, for giving me this chance.

With that Descartes and Macmurray and began to leave the coffee-shop to continue their discussion, leaving amongst bustling conversations about their arguements
































Notes:

[1] The term “extension” refers to the property of volume
























































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