Descartes Meditations: Mind And Body

907 Words4 Pages
Some of the greatest questions left unanswered in the world are those explored by philosophers. Examples of these questions are ones regarding the body, the mind, and the soul. Philosophers have numerous arguments for the existence of these, while some say they cannot be apart, Rene Descartes argues that the soul and body are in fact distinct. In Descartes' Meditations, focusing specifically on Meditation II, he investigates the body and soul, and their relationship, or lack of therefore to each other. I will argue that the statements and conclusions Descartes draws from his "Cogito" and "The Mind is More Certainly Known than Body" arguments for the distinction of the soul from the body are not explained clearly enough for there to only be…show more content…
From a beehive, Descartes extracts a piece of wax which he describes as still retaining its properties of its figure, colour, hardness and size, all things apparent to sight (Manley, 11). Then, Descartes puts the wax beside a flame and gathers that "the color changes, its figure is destroyed, its size increases, it becomes liquid, it grows hot, it can hardly be handled" (Manley, 11). He realizes however, that the piece of wax is still wax nonetheless, regardless of its previous properties having been changed. The question that remains is how Descartes knows the wax remains wax even though its sensible properties have diminished. He concludes certainly not through the senses and therefore through intellect and mind or soul. Although it became easy to be deceived by ones perceptions, and the connotations of initial impulse, Descartes concludes that the mind is much easier to know than the body. As a result of Descartes choosing between the two, either mind or body being superior, it shows that he does not perceive them to be joint, but distinct. Where Descartes does not clearly explain himself in this argument, rendering it weak, is through his use of "I." He states with certainty that "I" cannot know what "I" perceive to be real. However, this thought process of sensory perception he says, is proof that "I" exist. Each thought confirms the existence of only "my" mind. Although Descartes is attempting to say "the nature of the mind is better known than that of the body," he instead is saying that the existence of the mind is better known than his bodies existence. Descartes wants to prove through this argument that he knows more about the mind than about the body. In order for this to be true however, every thought or perception that Descartes has would have to inform him of new knowledge about the mind. Thus far,
Open Document