Descartes' Argument that the Mind is Better than the Body

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Descartes’ argue that mind is better known than body by first claiming humans as fundamentally rational, meaning “a thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, is willing, is unwilling,” ( Descartes, 19) he therefore argues that humans have the ability to know their proper minds clearly and distinctly. He proposes the conception of the mind where the imagination and the senses are also inherent capabilities of the body (faculties), specifically powers of the mind. But in order to further clarify this "thing that thinks,” he admits that there is always the possibility that he may be dreaming or deceived by an evil demon, since he is something that also imagines and senses seen. (13,15). He elaborates on this idea that if he is after…show more content…
The essence of a thing is the property or set of properties that the thing cannot do without. Decartes claims the essence of body is extension and the essence of mind is thought, therefore the two are completely distinct. The manner in which he comes to this conclusion is through his following argument: Descartes claims to understand the mind to be indivisible by its very nature. He also understand body to be divisible by its very nature. He therefore concludes, the mind is completely different from the body. (59). Descartes come to this conclusion that mind and body are distinct, not by stating that there is a clear and distinct understanding of the nature’s of mind and body as completely different, but rather bases his argument on a particular property of each substance. He does not prove this by choosing any property but a rather a property that the mind and body has by its very own nature. “There is a great difference between the mind and the body, inasmuch as the body is by its very nature always divisible, while the mind is utterly indivisible” (59). Descartes is using the term “nature” synonymously with “essence.” He claims that extension constitutes the essence of bodily kinds of things, while thinking constitutes essence of mental things. In other words, a property of what it is to be a body, or extended thing, is to be divisible, while a property of what it is to be a mind or thinking thing is indivisible. He ultimately proves
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