Rene Descartes: Relationship Between The Mind And The Body

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Philosophy 001 Project 3: Descartes
1) Cartesian dualism refers to the philosophical view proposed by the French mathematician and philosopher Rene Descartes that describes and explains the relationship of the mind and body. According to this philosophical view, the Mind and the Body are two completely separate and different substances capable of interacting with one another. Descartes asserted that “[that is, [the] mind, by which I am what I am], is entirely and truly distinct from [the] body, and may exist without it.” (Descartes). Descartes described the mind as an immaterial substance whose “essence consists only in being a thinking thing [or a substance whose whole essence or nature is merely thinking]” (Descartes). Additionally, Descartes
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For example, if a limb is amputated from the body, the amputated limb still exists even though it is separated from the rest of the body. Whereas if the faculty of thinking is separated from the mind, the mind will cease to be what it is. Thus, Descartes concluded that the mind is an indivisible substance possessing the capacity to conceive and process ideas while the body is a divisible material substance incapable of conceiving ideas on its …show more content…
However, upon a closer and more rigorous examination, it is revealed that this argument is not as unsubstantiated as it seems to be. In order to understand how Descartes justifies his assertion, the concept of “clear and distinct idea” needs to be understood. Descartes’ “clear and distinct idea” involves the argument that an idea becomes clear when sharp intellectual perception is applied to it, similar to how a physical object becomes visually clear when sharp visual perception is applied to the physical object. Furthermore, the idea is distinct if it is not only clear but also excludes all other ideas that does not belong to it (Skirry). Thus, Descartes argued that the body is distinct from the mind because, after applying acute intellectual perception, Descartes perceived that the idea of the mind excludes the idea of body and the idea of the body excludes the idea of the mind therefore the mind is separate and different from the body (Skirry). if the conclusion of this argument is true, then it also implies that these two substances can exist independent from each

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