Descartes ' Greatest Argument : Mind Body Duality

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Descartes’ Greatest Argument: Mind-Body Duality
Man is not merely an animal, but rather a body and soul that lives forever. This is an idea that took centuries to develop, and one that still conflicts the great thinkers of our time. Descartes, who ushered in the modern age of philosophy and who is arguably the greatest questioner of Aristotle, develops his ideas on the mind body duality throughout his first six Meditations. Explaining the essential characteristics of thinking things in contrast with those of physical things, Descartes makes it clear why the mind cannot simply be the brain and why, although we physically are present, our essence, our existence, is not linked with our physical self. Descartes arguments, however well crafted
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Descartes presents ideas that could possibly prove the mind-body singularity. He realizes he perceives colour and sound through his senses and also with the help of his memory. This means that these perceptions appear to have reached his imagination. Descartes speculates that the things he perceives may help prove that bodies exist. However, he soon realizes that it was in fact external bodies that caused him to have these perceptions, realizing that his senses have deceived him since he has had the same perceptions whilst being awake as well as when he is dreaming. Sensory experiences are equally present in ones’ dreams, yet the senses are not being activated. All that can be certain is the experience, not that the experience is the result of the contribution from ones’ senses. With this newly developed idea, experiences, independent of their cause, can be nothing more than a mere form of thinking and therefore a product of one’s imagination (25), meaning they are entirely independent of a body, and so do not require one. This is a first advancement on the idea of the mind-body duality. Descartes proceeds to bring forward the idea that all that is immediately available to the mind is perceptual experience. Regardless of what lies beyond that experience in the external world, Descartes believes that it is very certain that he sees light, hears noise and feels heat; and these are all a property of perception, and this, when interpreted in this precise sense, can be
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