Descartes on What Is a Person
Rene Descartes on What Is A PersonIn the Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes explores what makes a person through deductive reasoning and logic that flows through six meditations focusing mainly on God and the creation of people and the corporeal world. Through his analysis of doubt and certainty Descartes is able to decipher what makes a person. In the following essay I will argue that Descartes’ answers the question of what is a person using four main ideas; a person is a thinking thing, a person is an extension of God, a person is a finite being capable of making errors and a person is a combination of mind and body. Keeping in mind that Descartes was a philosopher in the early 1600’s and science was not very prevalent in society, his scientific theories were mere guesses based on reason and logic. In addition to further analyzing Descartes’ ideas, I will also discuss counter arguments as well as implications discovered in his logic/reasoning and finally I will address the plausibility of his arguments.
In order for Descartes to begin exploring what makes a person, he decides he has to throw out everything he is not absolutely certain of in order to start over and determine what he can be absolutely certain of. This leaves him with only one thing he knows for certain; that he is a thinking thing. Descartes comes to the conclusion that “thought exists; it alone cannot be separated from me.” (Descartes, 1993, p.19) and that it is impossible for him to doubt that he is thinking because for him to doubt he is thinking, would require him to think.
Therefore, he is a thinking thing and he exists. (Descartes, 1993, p.19) In the first meditation, Descartes takes into account what a thinking thing consists of, which is “A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses and also that imagines and senses.” (Descartes, 1993, p.
20) and in order to further explore this and prove that the mind exists separate from the body and is an…
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