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Descartes

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Foundation

In Descartes Meditation VI Of the existence of material things, and of the real distinction between the real soul and body of man, he explains he reasoning for believing that the mind is better known than any body.

Descartes states his reasoning through various assumptions that he has made in his search for knowledge. Descartes is a philosopher, who through thinking comes to these conclusions.

In the reading of Descartes he interprets his understanding of how and why the mind is better known than the body. He states that, "Myself in my entirety in as much as I am formed of body and soul (mind) taught by nature, sun, stars, and sky. Descartes realized that he could learn things from his body. Things like pain if he touches a flame or pleasure if he drinks a cup of wine. With senses Descartes could see textures and beautiful landscapes. This made Descartes realize that from this generalization that he has made, what he learns from his body does not exceed what he already knows in his mind. I think Descartes point is well made in his quote above. I come to understand this though, through the fact that the minds common sense is what tells me I should not touch a flame, because of the pain it will bring me.

Through Descartes studies of himself, he also came to the conclusion that, "Ð'...Mind alone, not mind and body in conjunction, is a requisite to a knowledge of the truth in regard to such things."(376) He explains this premise with the analogy, "Ð'...Although stars make no larger an impression on my eye than the flame of a little candle there is yet in me no real or positive propensity impelling me to believe that it is not greater than the flame; but I have judged it to be from my earliest years, without any rational foundation." This analogy interprets that, just because there is no direct effect upon his the body or physical senses it does not mean that nothing exists. The mind is more important to think and realize the possibilities even though his body cannot sense them. So even though the flame looks the same size as the star his mind know it in fact is not. I can only understand so much of this statement by Descartes. I understand that that his mind can differentiate the star from the star, but this is not preconceived knowledge given to him at birth. I disagree with the fact that he new this fact since he was a child. I believe that you learn any knowledge from either watching others or being taught it from someone. To disprove Descartes I use the analogy, "If I were born and no on spoke any kind of language to me I would not know how to speak."

The next philosophy Descartes comes up with deals with the actual difference between mind and body. He explains this principal with this knowledge, "There is a great difference between mind and body in as much as body is by nature always

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