Descartes ' Meditations, The Mind Essay

1305 Words 6 Pages
According to Descartes’ Meditations, the mind practically has the definite ability to think only. Anything more than this fact can be left to multiple interpretations that can be doubted. Because of this, Descartes introduces a list of capacities that a thinking thing can execute. As thinking is considered the only definite action, the capacities are the subset of thinking as an action. They create pairs of opposing forms of thinking that cover the whole spectrum of the human mind. These important pairs define humans and the ability to think as one and the same. Descartes defines thinking capacities as one that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, imagines, and perceives. The capacities he lays out are a means of thinking because they are conceivable actions of the mind. With the all-encompassing uncertainty of the world beyond our mind, we are only able to believe that we, our souls, are performing capacities of thinking. The first time Descartes mentions this is during the middle of the second meditation. “But what then am I? A thing which thinks. What is a thing which thinks? It is a thing which doubts, understands…” (p10). These capacities are channeled through our minds and are the only definite actions we can truly believe we make. Thinking is an action only possible through the capacities of doubting, understanding, affirming, and more. These capacities cover all the possible ways a mind can act. Whether it is doing calculations or communicating with…

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