Descartes Self Analysis

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Descartes provides us with the notion of the “self” in his Second Meditation after establishing a plan of radical skepticism. Descartes views the self as the mind, insofar as he believes that he is primarily a “thinking thing”. For the remainder of this essay, the body will be defined as possessing the ability to receive and transmit the senses, as well as being able to interact with the world outside of the mind. I will discuss and judge the merit of the arguments Descartes stands on. Then I will conclude by arguing that the conclusion Descartes comes to cannot be achieved by his own path of logic. Descartes believes that the “self” and the “body” cannot be made of the same “stuff” or serve similar purposes. This stems from his reasoning…show more content…
Here he comes to a junction where he considers the nature of the body and the soul/mind and says that he imagines the soul as an ether that runs throughout the body, but recognizes that he cannot apply qualitative observations to it that suit his sensibilities like he can for the body. By, accepting that he can never be positive about his senses of perception or that the body exists, he realizes it cannot logically be the role of a soul to sustain or nourish the body. He then looks to the notion of imagination and how one must be careful not to invent things with the imagination because they are inherently false. This means that you cannot use imagination to elucidate the true nature of the world, which he would be doing if he imagined the body and soul as anything physical without corroborating evidence. His final thoughts on the subject are that he is having difficulty completely letting go of the idea that the body is known better than the mind, but he knows that it cannot be correct because there is no rationale that allows him to know something which is doubtful such as the body, better than the mind which has survived his skepticism. In Descartes’ mind, the self is something that thinks and exists, but he cannot say the same for the body which he claims does not…show more content…
However, a situation in which that logic falls through is if the demon can cast thoughts onto the Meditator’s mind. He fails to consider the possibility that the mind exists to capture “thought signals” much like an eye which captures light signals. In this scenario, his mind would be a blank slate made only for the demon’s thoughts to be projected on and nothing if the demon was not present. Some may propose that Descartes would then be proved right in the notion that he exists, but would have failed to discern his true nature. Though this is interesting semantics, by his own definitions of existence, Descartes would actively have to be producing his own thoughts, but in this situation, he is merely a tool, just as much as any other inanimate object, and would therefore, most likely not consider himself to be
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