Descartes on the Distinction Between Body and Mind Essay

1187 Words Aug 7th, 2015 5 Pages
Descartes Premise for Distinguishing Body and Mind
In the Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes discusses the nature of the body and mind. By drawing from three lines of thought, Descartes launches a powerful premise that the body is something distinct from the mind. He conceptualizes his argument by using the uncertainty of knowledge argument, appealing to God’s omnipotence, and describing the indivisibility of the body and mind. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to discuss and analyze Descartes’s premise for distinguishing the body and mind.
In the first Meditation, Descartes begins by discussing a topic that seems far removed from the subject, yet instrumental to his argument. He questions the
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Moreover, he claims that nothing is farther from the mind than thought, and nothing is farther from the body than the extension (Descartes 108). As a result, the idea of body and mind shows that they are completely distinct. In creating bodies, the Supreme does not need to create minds, and in creating minds, he does not need to create bodies. This shows that the body and mind exist separately (Cress 96). In this premise, Descartes does not mean that the Supreme can miraculously create bodies and minds existing independently. He argues that it is the nature of bodies and minds to exist independently. The independence is a natural phenomenon.
The body and the mind are distinct things, as they possess different properties. As a result, Descartes further develops this argument when he claims that the mind does not have sections that can be divided. He says, “When I consider my mind, that is to say myself insofar as I am only a thinking thing, I can distinguish no part” (Descartes 164). According to Descartes, one uses the whole mind to doubt, think, reason, and so on. While there are numerous ways of thinking, the mind does not have parts. On the other hand, the body has different parts, a person can lose parts of his/her body. Thus, the body and mind are completely distinct types of things. Because Descartes argues that the body and mind exists, he points to the existence of substance dualism. In the

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