Hume And Descartes: State Of Existence

2104 Words 9 Pages
Hume and Descartes: State of Existence
Hume believes in an existence that is created through a physical existence that experiences the world through the human senses. These perceptions are then categorized into impressions and ideas which are then used to make sense of the world. Descartes, however, believes in a singular existence of a thinking thing, that is separate from a physical body, of which its existence he remains unsure of. In this essay, I will be analyzing Hume’s and Descartes’ beliefs in different states of existence as a thinking thing and a bundle of fleeting impressions and how it relates to their view of ideas. I reason that while there seem to be inconsistencies in both of their reasonings, I favor Hume’s claim that our existence
…show more content…
He remains doubtful of all supposedly self-evident truths, stating that there may be what he refers to as an evil demon manipulating our thoughts and making us believe that certain things are the way they are even when they're really not (Descartes, 3). He supposes that he only thinks he is flesh and blood with hands and feet when in reality, it may all be the work of a demon manipulating him into believing so. Instead, Descartes proposes that the only truth he cannot doubt is that he is a thinking thing. He justifies his claim by stating that because he has been doubting things this entire time, this can only be done if he is thinking. He has to exist to be thinking, therefore he exists as a thinking thing (Descartes, 5). He then further elaborates by stating that he is “a thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wants, refuses, and also imagines and senses” (Descartes, 5). Descartes then explains that his existence must be something that exists because even if everything he imagines is false, it is still he himself who imagines them to be, which is all part of the thinking that he does as a thinking thing. As for the human body, Descartes argues that while we can surely know the existence of the mind, the existence of the body is much harder to prove. In his wax example, Descartes explains that a piece of wax can initially and supposedly be known through its properties …show more content…
He reasons that a mind and body can live without each other. His reasoning is that if he can imagine the mind and the brain separately, then God must be able to make it happen, and if God can make it happen, then it must be so (Descartes, 30). This does not make sense, because if the God that Descartes believes in is omnipotent (Descartes, 12), then this God can make anything happen. Just because this God can make anything happen does not mean God is going to make it happen, and just because God can make it happen does not mean that is how things are. Assuming that the brain is different from the mind, there's no real way to determine if an entity that could be considered the mind exists after the death of the body. However, there's a difference between possibility and probability, and just because there's a possibility his reasoning could be true does not make it probable. If the mind and the brain are assumed to be one and the same, then there might be some truth to his reasoning if you consider people who are declared brain-dead. While there is no neurological activity in the brain or the brain stem, the heart still functions for a short time. The fact that the heart also beats outside the human body might also support his belief in the distinction between the mind and the body. Nevertheless, Descartes does not seem to think that they are. In which case, if the

Related Documents