Descartes and Dualism Essay

Descartes and Dualism Essay

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Descartes and Dualism

 

"I think therefore I am," the well known quote of Rene Descartes, is the basis of his theory known as dualism.  The intermingling of mind and body or res extensa (extended substance) and res cogitans (thinking substance) displays Descartes' ideas of a "genuine human being" (Cottingham 7).  Known as the father of modern philosophy, Descartes realized that one could not analyze a problem simply on the common sense level, but that one must "probe to the micro-level" (Cottingham 4).

 

Through his technique of doubting everything which he believed to exist and establishing a new philosophy, Descartes discovered that without a doubt, the only thing he could truly believe to exist was his own mind. He then supposed that a demon was deceiving him by causing him to believe that which he saw.  With this idea, he concluded "all external things are merely the delusions of dreams" (Descartes' Meditations as cited in Cottingham 23) which the demon has devised. By being able to convince himself of ideas and by being able to be deceived b...

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