Rene Descartes


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rene descartes Dualism

I believe that the popular or "ghost in the machine" form of substance
dualism best solves the mind body problem. My views in this area have been
influenced by my twelve years of Catholic education. The soul, or mind,
depending on your level of belief, was a complete and separate entity and was
the center of a human being. The body was an ambulatory device that the soul
directed. The idea that the mind is a separate entity and that it is independent
of the physical body is the central point of substance dualism. Churchland
explains that substance dualism claims that the mind is a distinct nonphysical
thing, a complete nonphysical entity that is independent of any physical body to
which it is temporarily attached. Any and all mental states and activities, as
well as physical ones, originate from this unique entity. Substance dualism
states that the real essence of you has nothing to do with your physical body,
but rather from the distinct nonphysical entity of the mind. The mind is in
constant interaction with the body. The body's sense organs create experiences
in the mind. The desires and decisions of the mind cause the body to act in
certain ways. This is what makes each mind's body its own. The popular or
"ghost in the machine" form of substance dualism states that a person
is a "ghost in a machine", the ghost being the mind or spirit and the
machine is the body. Within this description, the mind/spirit controls the body
and is in intimate contact with the brain. The brain would be the nexus between
the mind and body. The popular form of substance dualism was adopted after the
difficulties of Cartesian dualism could not be overcome. Rene Descartes stated
that the nonphysical and the physical could not interact. This became a problem
in dualism since the nonphysical mind needed to interact with the physical body.
These difficulties provided a motive for the move to popular substance dualism.
The first major argument for substance dualism is religion. Each of the major
religions place belief in life after death that there is an immortal soul that
will survive death. This very closely resembles substance dualism. The mind can
be substituted for the immortal soul. In fact the two are almost
interchangeable. This argument is primarily the basis for my own belief in
substance dualism. My personal experiences as a religion student give me insight
into this argument. The second major argument for substance dualism is
irreducibility. This points to a variety of mental phenomena that no physical
explanation could account for what is going on. An example would be the quality
and meaningful content of human thoughts and beliefs. These things cannot be
reduced to purely physical terms, hence irreducibility. This is also another
good argument that I can understand from personal experiences. I cannot reduce
my reactions and feelings toward how a steak tastes to a mathematical equation.
This is the same idea. The final argument for substance dualism is
parapsychological phenomena. Mental powers such as telepathy, precognition,
telekinesis, and clairvoyance are all near impossible to explain within the
boundaries of physics and psychology. These phenomena reflect the nonphysical
and supernatural nature that dualism gives to the mind. Because I believe in
these phenomena, it seems logical to me that parapsychology is an excellent
argument for substance dualism. These arguments give a good basis for a
philosopher to believe in substance dualism. However there are also serious
arguments against it. The first major argument against dualism is simplicity.
Materialists state that because their view is simpler (they only believe in one
thing- that which is physical) it is more rational to subscribe to their view.
The materialist point of view is also easier to prove because there is no doubt
that physical matter exists, while nonphysical matter is currently a hypothesis.
This argument seems very illogical to me. Philosophical views should be chosen
because one makes more sense to you, not because one has a smaller number of
ideas within it. The second major argument against substance dualism is
explanatory impotence. Materialists can explain anything physical through
scientific study, whereas dualists can explain nothing because no theory has
ever been formulated. Churchland says, "...dualism is less a theory of mind
than it is an empty space waiting for a genuine theory of mind to be put
in". I see one flaw with the materialist theory here. The mind in the
dualist theory may use a form of energy transfer not yet discovered by science.
Centuries ago, undiscovered ... more

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What I Need

DESCARTE: SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE

Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher believed that the origin of knowledge comes from within the mind, a single indisputable fact to build on that can be gained through individual reflection. His Discourse on Method (1637) and Meditations (1641) contain his important philosophical theories. Intending to extend mathematical method to all areas of human knowledge, Descartes discarded the authoritarian systems of the scholastic philosophers and began with universal doubt. Only one thing cannot be doubted: doubt itself. Therefore, the doubter must exist. This is the kernel of his famous assertion Cogito, ergo sum (I am thinking, therefore I am existing).   From this certainty Descartes expanded knowledge, step by step, to admit the existence of God (as the first cause) and the reality of the physical world, which he held to be mechanistic and entirely divorced from the mind; the only connection between the two is the intervention of God.                          
In the first meditation he casts doubt on the previous foundations of knowledge and everything he has learned or assumed. He stated "But reason now persuades me that I should withhold assent no less carefully from opinions that are not completely certain and indubitable than I would from those that are patently false." In order to evaluate and discern what is actually true he divides the foundations of knowledge into three sources: the senses, reality, and context.
In the second meditation he has found one true fact, "I think, therefore I am". Descartes then attempts to discover what this "I" is and how it perceives reality. The "I" is a body, a soul, and a thinking thing. It gains perception and recognition through the senses, the imagination, and the mind. He runs into two major problems in these meditations. The first was the existence of reality. The second is the connection between body and mind as he defines them.
Descartes is clearing away all knowledge that can be called into doubt. By doing this he hopes to create something real and lasting in the sciences, a foundation to build on. This indisputable fact will become the starting point or origin of all other true knowledge he can build upon it. He starts the first argument by attacking the very beginning of knowledge, human senses. Descartes states, "Surely whatever I had admitted until now as most true I received either from the senses or through the senses." Anyone will admit that their senses have deceived them at least once. According to Descartes it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once. However, something seen from a distance is much more easily mistaken than something seen up close. The senses show us some things more clearly than others.
Descartes then compares the average mind to that of the insane. Insanity, he defines as those who doubt what is obvious to the senses. From this perspective we must give our senses some credit, otherwise we could not function in reality. At this point Descartes questions how we can know that the reality we perceive is true. He likens it dreaming "How often does my evening slumber persuade me of such ordinary things as these: that I am here, clothed in my dressing gown, seated next to the fireplace-when in fact I am lying undressed in bed!" Stated in premise form it is shown as follows:
PI
P2
P3
There is no way to distinguish between being awake and asleep. Perhaps, even now we are dreaming, this not my body, and I am not writing this paper for philosophy but I am really lying in bed somewhere sleeping. However, dreams are based on reality. Whether this hand is real or dreamed, it is my hand, and it exists somewhere. Also, certain things are true in any context. Two plus three equals five and in no context can it be said to be untrue. The power to distinguish cannot be called into doubt as long as we hold that there is a reality whether we perceive it or not. This brings up the question, does there exist a true reality. Assuming that there is a God, he is all powerful, and created this ... more

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  • R: Discuss The Extent To Which Descartes Has Overcome R: Discuss The Extent To Which Descartes Has Overcome Discuss The Extent To Which Descartes Has Overcome His Doubts Of The F Discuss the extent to which Descartes has overcome his doubts of the first Meditations In Descartes meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of pure enquiry to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemolog...
  • E: Dualism E: Dualism Dualism I believe that the popular or ghost in the machine form of substance dualism best solves the mind body problem. My views in this area have been influenced by my twelve years of Catholic education. The soul, or mind, depending on your level of belief, was a complete and separate entity and was the center of a human being. The body was an ambulatory device that the soul directed. The idea that the mind is a separate entity and that it is independent of the physical body is the central poin...
  • N: What I Need N: What I Need What I Need DESCARTE: SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher believed that the origin of knowledge comes from within the mind, a single indisputable fact to build on that can be gained through individual reflection. His Discourse on Method (1637) and Meditations (1641) contain his important philosophical theories. Intending to extend mathematical method to all areas of human knowledge, Descartes discarded the authoritarian systems of the scholastic philosophers and...
  • E: Does A Tree Have Colour E: Does A Tree Have Colour Does A Tree Have Colour The idea of sound will be investigated in the following essay. Is there sound in the world and if a tree falls in the forest and there is no body around does it actually make a noise? These ideas will be followed by the theory of colour. Individuals think they see colour, so people believe there is colour in the world and do not even think twice about the issue. Still, some philosophers have presented ideas about the world with no colour. Is this theory plausible? Follo...
  •  : Do unsean colours exist : Do unsean colours exist do unsean colours exist Do unseen colours exist in the world and is there colour at all, the age old question? The idea of sound will be investigated in the following essay. Is there sound in the world and if a tree falls in the forest and there is no body around does it actually make a noise? These ideas will be followed by the theory of colour. Individuals think they see colour, so people believe there is colour in the world and do not even think twice about the issue. Still, some philosophe...
  • D: The Only Truth Existing D: The Only Truth Existing The Only Truth Existing We are, then, faced with a quite simple alternative: Either we deny that there is here anything that can be called truth - a choice that would make us deny what we experience most profoundly as our own being; or we must look beyond the realm of our natural experience for a validation of our certainty. A famous philosopher, Rene Descartes, once stated, I am, [therefore] I exist. This statement holds the only truth found for certain in our natural experience that, as consci...
  • E: Descartes vs. Pascal E: Descartes vs. Pascal Descartes vs. Pascal Descartes vs. Pascal For centuries, human beings have been debating over the validity of the use of reason. This is a very, very difficult subject to discuss, as one is forced to study something which is at that moment being used in their study. Two classic thinkers who contrasted on their view of reason were Descartes and Pascal. Though both saw reason as the primary source of knowledge, they disagreed over the competence of human reason. Descartes, the skeptic, said that w...
  • S: Descartes Man vs Animal S: Descartes Man vs Animal Descartes Man vs Animal Movies and novels such as Planet of the Apes and 2001: A Space Odyssey are called Science Fiction because they portray situations that seem extremely unrealistic concurrent with contemporary philosophy. Planet of the Apes depicts a world where apes rule while humans are subjected to servitude and confinement. These apes speak intelligibly and are human-like in appearance and behavior. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the highly advanced computer, HAL 9000, an acronym for He...
  • C: Argument for Abortion C: Argument for Abortion Argument for Abortion The argument of abortion has been raging since the Supreme Court case, Roe vs. Wade, in 1973. This court case has divided the country into two factions: pro-choice and pro-life. Pro-life advocates argue that abortions are murder and extreme levels of child abuse. While pro-choice advocates believe abortions are a justifiable means to end pregnancies. The pro-choice argument is that the fetus is not yet a human being and its rights should not override that of the mother\'s. ...
  • A: Marijuanas Effects A: Marijuanas Effects Marijuanas Effects Marijuana can cause many harmful effects. There has never been a major test though. The ones they\'ve used have shown very different things. I have been very surprised by what I have been reading. I cannot believe the difference in what different scientists think. One says, It\'s hard to know for sure whether regular marijuana use causes cancer. But it is known that marijuana contains some of the same and sometimes even more, of the cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco s...
  • R: Descartes And Hume R: Descartes And Hume Descartes And Hume There are three ways in which one is able to find truth: through reason (A is A), by utilizing the senses (paper burns) or by faith (God is all loving). As the period of the Renaissance came to a close, the popular paradigm for philosophers shifted from faith to reason and finally settling on the senses. Thinkers began to challenge authorities, including great teachers such as Aristotle and Plato, and through skepticism the modern world began. The French philosopher, Rene Desc...
  • T: No title T: No title Descartes Extreme Philosophy Philosophy March 7, 1999 The philosopher/scientist/mathematician Rene Descartes lived in a time of sweeping changes across all realms of knowledge. Descartes himself was responsible for many of these changes, one of which was a strong advancement in philosophy. Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy tackle, among many things, two difficult philosophical issues. The method in which these issues are dealt with, however, tends to be on the extreme side, since Desca...
  • E: Abstract E: Abstract Abstract This paper focuses on the seventeenth century philosopher Rene' Descartes' six Meditations. In his writings, he attempts to quantify his existence, the existence of the world around him, and that of an all- knowing and powerful being, God. Each of the Meditations is briefly reviewed, and key points are explained. The concepts and conclusions that Descartes reaches are applied to the age-old question, Does God exist? Introduction According to Rene' Descartes (1596 - 1650), man is a think...
  • S: Hume And Descartes On The Theory Of Ideas S: Hume And Descartes On The Theory Of Ideas Hume And Descartes On The Theory Of Ideas Hume and Descartes on The Theory of Ideas David Hume and Rene Descartes are philosophers with opposing views about the origination of ideas. Descartes believed there were three types of ideas which are, innate, adventitious and those from imagination. He stated since he exists and his idea of what a perfect being is, such as God, then God exists. Hume, on the other had, believed ideas came only from one thing, impressions. Both theories have their streng...
  • Free College Admissions Essays - Mark Twain Change Free College Admissions Essays - Mark Twain Change Free College Admissions Essays - Mark Twain Changed My Life College Admissions Essays Mark Twain Changed My Life Sometime before I reached high school, I formed the habit of blindly accepting any explanation of anything that someone gave to me, not forming any opinions before I had the information spoon-fed to me. Everything changed after I picked up a copy of Mark Twain's Best at my library book sale. One of the stories featured was The Mysterious Stranger, a tale of a group of boys who mee...
  • Is belief in the soul rational? Is belief in the soul rational? Is belief in the soul rational? Discuss the influence of such a belief on the argument for life after death. To begin to look at this question I must first ask myself is belief in the soul rational. I think the best place to start is to define rational, rational as I see it means is the concept that there is or is not an after life possible, can it be proven? Is it compatible with reason? Or is it irrational as philosophers such as Richard Dawkins would say? Or is it super rational (revealed)....
  • Susan Bordo Susan Bordo Susan Bordo Susan Bordo works at the University of Kentucky as the Otis A. Singletary Chair of Humanities. She also is a philosopher who deals with many traditional aspects of philosophy such as Rene Descartes and Sigmund Freud. However, what sets Bordo apart from most other philosophers is her training of the study of popular culture and representations of the body. She is a philosopher, that is, who writes not only about Plato but also about Madonna and O.J. (Bordo 138). Much of Bordos work...
  • Integral Calculus Integral Calculus Integral Calculus Ever wonder how scientists figure out how long it takes for the radiation from a nuclear weapon to decay? This dilemma can be solved by calculus, which helps determine the rate of decay of the radioactive material. Calculus can aid people in many everyday situations, such as deciding how much fencing is needed to encompass a designated area. Finding how gravity affects certain objects is how calculus aids people who study Physics. Mechanics find calculus useful to determine rat...
  • Evolution Evolution Evolution INTRODUCTION Theories explaining biological evolution have been bandied about since the ancient Greeks, but it was not until the Enlightment of the 18th century that widespread acceptance and development of this theory emerged. In the mid 19th century english naturalist Charles Darwin - who has been called the father of evolution - conceived of the most comprehensive findings about organic evolution ever1. Today many of his principles still entail modern interpretation of evolution. ...
  • Descartes and locke Descartes and locke Descartes and locke DESCARTES AND LOCKE (Knowledge) One of the most important branches in philosophy, is Epistemology, which means, theory of knowledge. So far, philosophers have made many attempts to discover the source of knowledge, the standards or criteria by which we can judge the reliability of knowledge. We tend to be satisfied with think what we know about almost everything, even though sometimes we are shocked to discover that something that we thought it was sure and certain, is instea...
  • Innate ideas Innate ideas innate ideas Throughout the passage of time, philosophers have written and discussed many topics in philosophy. Sometimes, these philosophers agree on ideas or sometimes they make their own assumptions. There are two philosophers who had different ideas concerning where innate ideas come from and how we get these types of ideas. Rene Descartes and John Locke were these two philosophers with the opposing argument on innate ideas. The place where Descartes discusses his views were in the Meditatio...
  • Evolution Evolution Evolution TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION ............................................... 2 DARWINIAN THEORY OF EVOLUTION .............................. 4 THE THEORY OF BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION: CONTRIBUTING ELEMENTS ....................... 7 WALLACE\'S CONTRIBUTIONS ................................... 13 HARDY-WEINBERG PRINCIPLE .................................. 15 COMPARISON: LAMARCK vs. DARWIN ........................... 16 DARWIN\'S INFLUENCES ....................................... 20 METH...
  • Truth is it for real Truth is it for real truth is it for real truth is it for real? By: Mike Labatte The Only Truth Existing We are, then, faced with a quite simple alternative: Either we deny that there is here anything that can be called truth - a choice that would make us deny what we experience most profoundly as our own being; or we must look beyond the realm of our natural experience for a validation of our certainty. Plato developed an early version of the correspondence theory. He sought to understand the meaning of knowled...
  • Title of Paper : Theory of Evolution Title of Paper : Theory of Evolution Title of Paper : Theory of Evolution Grade Received on Report : 87 TABLE OF CONTENTS Page INTRODUCTION ............................................... 2 DARWINIAN THEORY OF EVOLUTION .............................. 4 THE THEORY OF BIOLOGICAL EVOLUTION: CONTRIBUTING ELEMENTS ....................... 7 WALLACE\'S CONTRIBUTIONS ................................... 13 HARDY-WEINBERG PRINCIPLE .................................. 15 COMPARISON: LAMARCK vs. DARWIN ........................... 16 DARWIN\'S I...
  • Does a tree have colour Does a tree have colour does a tree have colour The idea of sound will be investigated in the following essay. Is there sound in the world and if a tree falls in the forest and there is no body around does it actually make a noise? These ideas will be followed by the theory of colour. Individuals think they see colour, so people believe there is colour in the world and do not even think twice about the issue. Still, some philosophers have presented ideas about the world with no colour. Is this theory plausible? Follo...