Rene Descartes Law Thesis

Rene Descartes Law Thesis-55
In his Letter to the Sorbonne published at the beginning of his seminal work, , Descartes states that his purpose in showing that the human mind or soul is really distinct from the body is to refute those “irreligious people” who only have faith in mathematics and will not believe in the soul's immortality without a mathematical demonstration of it.

In his Letter to the Sorbonne published at the beginning of his seminal work, , Descartes states that his purpose in showing that the human mind or soul is really distinct from the body is to refute those “irreligious people” who only have faith in mathematics and will not believe in the soul's immortality without a mathematical demonstration of it.

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Being sphere shaped is a mode of an extended substance.

For example, a sphere requires an object extended in three dimensions in order to exist: an unextended sphere cannot be conceived without contradiction.

But a substance can be understood to exist alone without requiring any other creature to exist. That is, its existence is not dependent upon the existence of minds or other bodies; and, a stone can exist without being any particular size or shape.

This indicates for Descartes that God, if he chose, could create a world constituted by this stone all by itself, showing further that it is a substance “really distinct” from everything else except God.

The second is more scientifically oriented, for the complete absence of mentality from the nature of physical things is central to making way for Descartes’ version of the new, mechanistic physics.

This section investigates both of these motivating factors.Hence, the thesis that mind and body are really distinct just means that each each exist without the other?What’s the payoff for going through all the trouble and enduring all the problems to which it gives rise? The first is religious in nature in that it provides a rational basis for a hope in the soul’s immortality [because Descartes presumes that the mind and soul are more or less the same thing].Accordingly, any dispositions a swallow might have, such as the disposition for making nests, would then also be explained by means of this ultimate goal of being a swallow; that is, swallows are disposed for making nests for the sake of being a swallow species of substance.This explanatory scheme was also thought to work for plants and inanimate natural objects.So the real distinction of mind and body also serves the more scientifically oriented end of eliminating any element of mentality from the idea of body.In this way, a clear understanding of the geometrical nature of bodies can be achieved and better explanations obtained.However, recall that Descartes’ conclusion is only that the mind or soul , Descartes claims only to have shown that the decay of the body does not logically or metaphysically imply the destruction of the mind: further argumentation is required for the conclusion that the mind actually survives the body's destruction.This would involve both “an account of the whole of physics” and an argument showing that God cannot annihilate the mind.This confusion led people to mistakenly ascribe mental properties like knowledge to entirely non-mental things like stones, plants, and, yes, even non-human animals.The real distinction of mind and body can then also be used to alleviate this confusion and its resultant mistakes by showing that bodies exist and move as they do without mentality, and as such principles of mental causation such as goals, purposes (that is, final causes), and knowledge have no role to play in the explanation of physical phenomena.

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