The Wax Example Of Rene Descartes

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1) Rene Descartes
a) Rene Descartes believes that things exist simply because he thinks, therefore he is. This is beautifully illustrated when he gives us the wax example. Before giving that example, Rene Descartes did state that our senses are deceptive and so is our imagination. If we were to go by that, does that mean we exist just because we perceive it through our senses? He concludes no. His explanation of existence is that he is just a “thing” which thinks and because of that he is the “I”. Rene Descartes tells us that we are just a thing with the capacity to doubt, understand, conceive, affirm, deny, will, refute, and a thing that can imagine and feel. He concludes that we exist by the understanding only, not because of our sense, but
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In this meditation, Rene wanted to clarify what this “I” is and this “thing that thinks”. Rene Descartes comes to the conclusion that he is not only something that thinks, understands and has a will but he has something that imagines and has senses. That being said, he also stated that our senses cannot be trusted either. He states and believed that our senses can be deceiving, they could be dreams and lastly, they can be purely evil. In addition, our imagination cannot be trusted as well. He uses the wax example to illustrate how we come to know of a piece of was just taken from a honeycomb. Do we know a piece of wax through our sense or by other means? At first, he tells us that we can know about the piece of wax by means of our senses: its taste, smell, color, shape, size, hardness, etc. He then tells us what would happen if the piece of wax where to go near fire and was melted. All of these sensible qualities, that we can feel, change. Its shape and size would change and also its hardness would change and become soft. Despite all those changes, Rene Descartes concludes that the same piece of wax remains. Therefore, regarding knowledge through our senses, he believes that knowledge cannot come through our senses because if something were to change, such as the wax, its sensible properties would have changed. Because of this, he also states that we cannot come to know this through our sense and neither our imagination. Our imagination can change into an infinite amount of numbers and shapes. After examining all these options, he concludes that he knows the wax by means of intellect. He believed that the mind knows better than the body. While sense can deceive us, and imaginations cannot be trusted, the mind can be trusted and knows

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