Essay on The Relationship of the Mind and the Body: The Person

Essay on The Relationship of the Mind and the Body: The Person

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Can the mind exist without the body? Can the body exist without the mind? Surely in this day and age, there are artificial ways to keep the body alive even if the brain is pronounced dead. Likewise, the body can be completely immobilized, in a coma, yet the mind can still be alive and active. But can either really exist in its entirety on its own, performing its functions as usual, and in the same manner as if it was still in union with its partner? In his book, Discourse on the Method and Meditations on First Philosophy, Rene Descartes analyzes the mind and the body as two entirely distinct and separate entities. Through his analysis, he concludes that the mind does not need the body to exist. Descartes argues that since we are at the basest form, “thinking things,” our bodily senses are not necessary to our minds and to knowing what truly does and does not exist in the world. He claims that it is our minds alone that think and analyze and determine this. Without them, he says, we could not make connections and know what anything is. Descartes makes a good point - it is true that without our minds, we could not make the crucial connection of sensing something through our five senses and then decipher what it is through our thought process. However, it is right for him to say that our senses, and therefore our bodies, the carrier of our senses, are irrelevant to our purposes, and that we only need our minds to exist? I believe it is not. When Descartes argues that our bodies are not necessary to exist and understand the things around us, he is collapsing the human being to simply a mind, and therefore neglecting what it means to be a person.
What does it mean to be person? Perhaps, we should discuss what is meant by the word, “p...


... middle of paper ...


...an celebrate its independence without the body. Saint Thomas Aquinas provides provides us with an explanation of the relationship that the mind and body share, and in doing so, gives the human being its personhood. Through knowing what it means to be a person, we can see that Descartes’ dualistic view of the person provides for a nice discussion topic, but has no real place in the world to be accepted as a truth, for doing so denies human beings of their personhood.



Works Cited
Aquinas, Thomas. "Question 76. The Union of Body and Soul." SUMMA THEOLOGICA:
The Union of Body and Soul (Prima Pars, Q. 76). N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.
Descartes, René . Discourse On Method ; Meditations On First Philosophy. Hackett
Publishing Company, print.
Vovolis, Thanos. Prosopon.The Acoustical Mask in Greek Tragedy and in Contemporary
Theatre. Academia.edu, n.d. Web. 6 Feb. 2014.

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