Descartes Mind Body Dualism Summary

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In his philosophical thesis, of the ‘Mind-Body dualism’ Rene Descartes argues that the mind and the body are really distinct, one of the most deepest and long lasting legacies. Perhaps the strongest argument that Descartes gives for his claim is that the non extended thinking thing like the Mind cannot exist without the extended non thinking thing like the Body. Since they both are substances, and are completely different from each other. This paper will present his thesis in detail and also how his claim is critiqued by two of his successors concluding with a personal stand. Most importantly, for Descartes, ‘Real distinction’ is a technical term that denotes the difference between two or more substances (Principles, part 1, section 60). A…show more content…
For example, a rock can exist all by itself. This indicates that Descartes proposed that God if he wanted could create a world of beings that could exist all by itself. Therefore what he means to say is that if the mind and body are really distinct, they could exist all by themselves without being dependant on each other.

Although he has changed a bit in his stance from his books like Discourse and Meditations which has versions like the First, the Second, the Sixth and so on, he was still critiqued by two of his successors, Nicolas Malebranche and Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz. Malebranche developed an internal critique of Descartes theory of the mind. It embodies the insight that there is a serious muddle at the centre of the whole of Descartes theory of knowledge. He says that we do not hold a clear idea of the mind to make out much. ‘He thinks that although we have knowledge through the idea of body, we know the mind “only through consciousness, and because of this, our knowledge of it is imperfect” (3–2.7, OCM 1:451; LO 237). Knowledge through ideas is superior because it involves direct access to the “blueprints” for creation in the divine understanding, whereas in consciousness we are employing our own weak cognitive resources that
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