Analysis Of Descartes Theory Of The Mind And Body

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The foundation of Descartes’ theory of the mind and body rests upon his famous notion: ‘I think therefore I am’. As a prime advocate of modern philosophy, Descartes was both a rationalist and a substance dualist. He proposed the mind and body dualism theory in an attempt to explain everything physical. For Descartes, in order for material things to exist, the mind and body have to be separate entities. This essay will explore Descartes’ account on the relationship between the mind and body, through his accounts in his series, Meditations and go onto analyse Descartes’ arguments for the separation of the mind and body as two clear and distinct entities.
In Meditations on First Philosophy, first published in 1641, Descartes attempts to demonstrate his idea that an individual is composed of two separate entities: the mind and body. According to Descartes, the mind is a non-physical thinking substance with no extension, and the body is a physical substance which is extended in space (Gueroult, 1985, pg. 47). This notion is known as substance dualism. Descartes fused substance dualism with Cartesian aspects which formed into Cartesian duality (Voss, 1993). This philosophy explains the separation of the thinking self and a non-thinking body into two distinct entities which can both have casual effects on one
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In Mediation I, he claims that ‘simple truths’ are the only things that can undoubtedly be known because sensory perception is unreliable; a dream could be mistaken for reality and vice versa. He believes that even though it is possible to conceive the perception of his body to be false, the same cannot be done with the mind, because by doubting that he can think, something that can doubt must be there to begin with (Cottingham and Descartes, 2013). Descartes embraced a method of doubt in order to detect beliefs that cannot be doubted and formulate a decisive body of
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