Analysis Of Descartes 's ' First Attempt '

981 Words Nov 2nd, 2015 4 Pages
In his first attempt, Descartes attempts to use the metaphor of weight to explain the relation, such that we can apply weight in terms relating to the body and other times relating to the soul, and just as we have the innate notion that an immaterial force “pushes” weighted objects towards the earth, so too does the immaterial soul/mind act on the body . However, this explanation proves unsatisfactory both to the modern reader and to Elisabeth herself; as this analogy fails to bridge the gap as to how something immaterial can enter into a causal relationship with something that is distinctly material. Elizabeth agrees that the senses (and the passions) demonstrate that the soul can move the body, but that falls far short of determining the mechanism by which this can happen (without of course sacrificing the integrity of his immaterial/material substance divide.)
In a second attempt (following Elisabeth’s dissatisfaction with the weight analogy) Descartes provides his most extensive response, explaining the three factors necessary for causal functioning, and tying them to the specific example of thought and action . This exposition is problematic for a number of reasons. Firstly, Jonathon Dennett notes Descartes’ switches between using soul as the core subject of investigation to using the word “thought” which is actually an entirely separate argument; while thoughts are a necessary part of the soul/mind, they are not sufficient to explain all the processes. Secondly, in…
Open Document