Descartes' Views on the Topic of Philosophy of Mind

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Descartes' Views on the Topic of Philosophy of Mind Descartes has indeeed made some notable contributions towards the philosophy of mind. It is the aim of this essay to discuss these contributions. Descartes is well known for being an avid dualist. This is the view that the mind and body are understood to be seperate and distinct from each other, but in some way causally connected. Descartes was no exception and believed the mind and body to be two completely different substances. He defines the body as an extended, non-thinking substance and the mind as a non-extended, thinking sunstance. But it not just these definitions that allow Descartes to adopt a dualistic point of view. Descartes came to the conclusion in meditation I of his discourse of method that any data received from the senses could be doubted and therefore unreliable. As the body is known only through the senses, Descartes was able to doubt the existence of such a body and all other bodies for that. In meditation II however he arrives at the knowledge that doubting the mind is incoherent, as a mind is needed in order to proceed wth such doubts. Because the body can be doubted and the mind can indubitedly not Descartes concludes that they are distinct. This is known as Cartesian Dualism. However in concluding that the mind and body are distinct Descartes is left with the problem of explaining how they interact. The problem starts with his concepton of the mind, which as stated earlier is a thinking, non-extended substance, that Descartes believes isn't actually located in the body but in a non-physical realm. How then does this non-physical substance interact with... ... middle of paper ... ... in a geometircal form. Second, the fact that our imagination is directed towards the ideas of bodies, means it is possible that such bodies exist. Finally, the faculty of sense perception is an entirely passive ability to receive ideas of physical objects. As one does not have any control over such ideas, it follows that the ideas must be produced by some external source (ie: a body itself). Descartes also suggests that other bodies must exist if a non-deceiving God exists. For a non-deceiving god wouldn't allow Descartes to believe that something exists if infact it wasn't real. As to whether Descartes believes other minds exist is a question left unanswered. This is probably due to the fact that one can only ever have direct access to one mind (their own), and therefore can only be sure of the existence of one mind.
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