Mind Over Matter? A Response To Descartes & Plato - PHL 201
Another discussion board copy and paste… damn this class is getting good.
“In essence, Descartes’ prime reasoning boils down to this statement:
“[T]here is no doubt that I exist, if he is deceiving me. And let him do his best at deception, he will never bring it about that I am nothing so long as I shall think that I am something. Thus, after everything has been most carefully weighted, it must finally be established that this pronouncement ‘I am, I exist’ is necessarily true every time I utter it or conceive it in my mind” (Meditations, Hackett edition, p. 18).
Essentially, even if he was being deceived by some demon about his perception and actual existence (as he refers to within the meditations), the fact that we was being deceived means that he was capable of knowing or coming up with the potentiality of possibly being deceived within this reality — which ultimate means that he is thinking which concludes that he is existing. This is because he considers himself and all others to simply be “thinking things” above all other titles — and that the thinking world (the mind) is better known than the body (the corporeal world).
There are similarities between Descartes and Plato when it comes to the ideals of forms and thinking — especially differentiating between the inner and outer worlds of human experience and consciousness (in other words, the differentiating between mind and body). And because forms or appearances happen within the mind, this is one of the main points and arguments made by Descartes when claiming that the mind is better known than the body. Objects are hosted within the corporeal world while meaning, categorizing and processing is within the internal world (mind).
Do I personally find his indirect argument for the existence of the soul at all compelling? Absolutely, unequivocally — yes. I love it — couldn’t agree more. The fact that the soul can’t be contained or handled as physical matter, yet matters more than the body (pun intended) proves the fact that in essence what matters most is what is not actually made of matter. Again, this is also similar and resounding back to Plato’s forms argument. Literally, it’s mind over matter.”
#document — J