Descartes#2

Descartes#2 - Scott M. Welch Descartes Course Dr. Kinlaw...

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Scott M. Welch Descartes Course Dr. Kinlaw March 5, 2006 Comments on Mersenne’s First Objection In the original working of The Meditations, Descartes understood there would be certain objections to his philosophy. In anticipation of this he made a point of getting his work out to as many theologians and fellow philosophers as possible. Thus the series of Objections and Replies were created. Some of the most notable works in the Objections came from the scholars called upon by Mersenne. The originators of these works are not individually named and for this reason the objections presented will name Mersenne as the sole protester on Descartes works. The objective of this paper is to look in depth at the First of these objections, how Descartes replies to it, and it will conclude with a brief analysis of whether or not the objection holds any weight against the Meditations. By providing ideas from the Replies as well as looking upon his original works an attempt will be made to verify Descartes’ original works as sound. In the First objection Mersenne, calls out in response to Descartes’ First and Second Meditations. The first point Mersenne makes notable is “your vigorous rejection of the images of all bodies as delusive.” He describes Descartes’ conclusion in the first two Meditations as mistaken, because the only thing he is sure of is that he is a “thinking thing.” This objection is not entirely original. In fact several of the authors presented in the Objections pick on this exact point. The general reason for this is that many of them fundamentally reject the notion of separating the mind and body. To these persons it
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Welch seems ridiculous and they find it difficult to comprehend how Descartes could come to the conclusion he is a “thinking thing.” Mersenne directly asks Descartes, “how do you know that you are not corporeal motion, or a body which is in motion?” This question elicits a response from Descartes which proceeds as follows. His reply to Mersenne’s first objection begins with a lengthy and detailed analysis of what the meaning was behind the Meditation. In his reply he states, “I was not yet asking whether the mind is distinct from the body, but was merely examining those of its properties of which I can have certain and evident knowledge.” This statement may have been enough to answer Mersenne’s objection, yet Descartes continues on and further examines the point. He restates his objective on how it was necessary to separate the mind and body in a way that would allow him to further his thought on determining God’s existence. He felt it was a necessary part to do this in a purely unmistakable way in order to avoid falling into the habits and footsteps of previous philosophers who did not, or could not separate what is known and what is undetermined. Any effort to prove God’s existence without a pure and complete certainty of knowledge seems to be unsound by Descartes’ standards. To further examine this point one may refer back to the First
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Descartes#2 - Scott M. Welch Descartes Course Dr. Kinlaw...

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