But the Meditations begins with a discussion of a topic seemingly far removed from the nature of the mind: What we have to see is how this question is related to questions about the relationship between mind and body. This is in part because we cannot be certain that what we think of as our sensations of the world are not a dream:
According to substance dualism, our minds and our bodies are two distinct substances capable of existing apart. The argument for substance dualism relies heavily on all the work that Descartes has done up until this point.
The argument rests on the claim that the essence of mind is thought while the essence of body is extension, and this duality of essences implies a duality of corresponding substances.
The full argument can be broken down into seven steps: One practical upshot of this claim is the possibility of life after death. If mind and body can exist apart, then our soul can survive the death of our body.
More important than that, though, for Descartes, at least is that substance dualism ensures that physics boils down to geometry. Physics is the study of physical substances. If things like sensations and thoughts belonged to physical substance then physics would have to account for them.
This would be a problem for Descartes, because sensations and thoughts cannot possibly be expressed mathematically, or mechanistically for that matter.
They would destroy the entire neat, mathematical, mechanistic expression of the physical world. Descartes, therefore, takes these items out of the realm of the physical and, thus, of physics by claiming that in addition to physical substance there is an entirely different substance in the world: Substance dualism, then, is a necessary precursor to the rest of the text.
There is a lot going on in every premise, and so a lot of unpacking must be done in order to get a perfect grasp of how the whole thing is supposed to work. Step 1 seems clear enough. Step 2though, confronts us with a question: Why is step 2 not just, "If I can clearly conceive of X and Y as complete things then God could bring it about that they exist apart"?
To understand why this is necessary consider the following example of bad reasoning: I know that Lilly is a woman. I, therefore, know that Lilly has no talent for football.
This reasoning fails because there is nothing in the idea of being a girl that excludes the possibility of being good at football. One can be both a girl and talented at football.
Imagine this other example: I can conceive of a square while only thinking of four equal sides. Therefore, I can conceive of a square without conceiving of shape.
It is true that I can think of a square by thinking only of four equal sides. However, having four equal sides is just a way of being shaped.Real Distinction, Separability, and Corporeal Substance in Descartes but also in the context of the metaphysics of body.A real distinction,for Descartes, is a distinction between substances, and the two notions are intimately connected.
Real Distinction, Separability, and Corporeal Substance in Descartes Descartes’ Mind and Body Distinction Words | 3 Pages. Descartes’ Mind/Body Distinction This paper will attempt to explain Descartes’ first argument for the distinction that exists between mind and body. Dualism is a necessary aspect of Descartes’ metaphysics and epistemology.
implicit in Descartes's account of real distinction, that when A and B are. really distinct there is no third thing C to which they both are related in the.
way in which things modally distinct in . The Theory Of Mind And Body Dualism Essay - An Argument in Support of Renee Descartes Interactive Theory of Mind/Body Dualism This philosophical study will support the theory of interactive mind/body dualism in the writings of Renee Descartes.
On the one hand, Descartes argues that the mind is indivisible because he cannot perceive himself as having any parts.
On the other hand, the body is divisible because he cannot think of a body except as having parts. Hence, if mind and body had the same nature, it . - In Meditation Six entitled “Concerning the Existence of Material Things, and Real Distinction between the Mind and Body”, one important thing Descartes explores is the relationship between the mind and body.