Essay on Descartes’ Arguments for the Real Distinction of Mind and Body

Essay on Descartes’ Arguments for the Real Distinction of Mind and Body

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Descartes’ Arguments for the Real Distinction of Mind and Body

Descartes argues has three main arguments for minds and bodies being
two different distinct types of substance. These are known as
arguments for substance dualism and are as follows.

* The Argument from doubt : Descartes argues that while he could
pretend or think that he had no body and therefore did not exist
in any place, he could not think or pretend he had no mind, as
merely having a doubt that he had a mind proves that he does.

* The Argument from Clear and distinct understanding: Descartes
argues that if two things can be separated even if only by god
then they must be two different things. Descartes says that as he
can perceive minds and bodies clearly and distinctly from each
other they must be two separate things we just don't know how to
separate them.

* The Argument from simplicity: Descartes argues that bodies can be
divided into parts whereas minds cannot meaning that the two must
be different things.

For our minds to be separate from our bodies first of all we have to
exist otherwise there is nothing about which to argue and no stand
point to argue from. Also we must be able to believe that things of
which we think in this case minds and bodies exist and that if we
perceive something as correct it must be true. So it is important to
all of Descartes's arguments to establish not only that we exist but
also that we can be certain of what we claim to know. The cogito is
Descartes's claim “that I thinking therefore I exist” Descartes says
that as he can convince himself of something he must exist, as ev...

... middle of paper ...

...tance distinct from the body.

In conclusion i think that Descartes arguments approach an answer but
really it is only with a better definition of what a mind entails that
he could truelly prove bodies and minds are separate If we know bodies
are a physical thing that can be examined, separated and destroyed and
we knew for sure that minds are not a physical thing but can be broken
so therefore and along with the cogito must exist, then the mere fact
that the two things are made of a different substance ,i.e. matter and
something we are as of yet unable to explain, makes minds and bodies
two separate things.


Rene Descartes, The philosophical writings of Descartes, Vol 2, 1911
(Cambridge, Cambridge university press)

John Locke, An essay concerning human understanding, Book 2, Ch27,

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