Rene Descartes On Natural Philosophy

1360 Words 6 Pages
The thought of understanding the nature and understanding ourselves, although it may be common to take it for granted, has undergone development to the point that it is now. In 17th century when Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650) was around, the world and therefore the human were understood according to the teaching of Aristotle. Furthermore, Descartes ambition was to revolutionise this view and the first step in doing so was to start from the beginning. This essay will aim to explain the relationship of his view on natural philosophy and his dualism about mind and matter. Before presenting Descartes ' natural philosophy there must be explained the difference in between appearance and reality. Appearance is the world measured by our perception …show more content…
Since that is the case, that the universe has certain laws that govern its functioning therefore the human must have laws. This developed into the idea that the human body is a mechanical apparatus which follows certain principles in order to achieve its purpose. However the purpose of it is not the same with that of the Aristotelian though which claimed final causality which is best explained by the example that the eye has the purpose of seeing. Furthermore, the human body has another disposition which the rest of matter does not have, that which it is that is connected to a mind. The notion of mind according to Descartes is different from that of matter. Firstly, each can be differentiated according to their essence, the essence of matter is extension in length, breath and depth and as a consequence of the principles that governs it, it also has the modes. In addition to its essence matter has the attribution of existence and duration. However, the mind on the other side, although it is applied to existence and duration it has the essence of thought and the additional aptitudes of will and intellect. In Descartes philosophies appears a third element which will grow in importance later in his theories. This element is again characterised by an essence and is considered the one with the greatest abilities since it can exist by itself …show more content…
However, it is not the case that perception leads to reality but rather appearance. What is the case however, is that our minds have the ability through intellect to get to know the arrangement of the universe but we cannot find out if our mind is real because it is not made out of matter. So in this case the mind is real simply because it is enquiring or more specifically is thinking. In addition to this there is another question following because if there is a gap in between what is real and what is known how can there be certainty that any are existent? The answer is given by the third element found in Descartes philosophy, which states that God is the only true essence and by that measure it can regulate the relationship in between the matter an the universe therefore whatever it is considered by the mental faculties is not an illusion because God allows it to

Related Documents