Megan Lawless - Megan Lawless Com L 114"From...

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Megan Lawless Com L 114 September 19, 2007 “From Self-Reflection to Reflection of Society: Two Very Different Views of the Self” Descartes and Rousseau, both considered among the greatest thinkers in modern philosophy, define the self from very different angles. Rousseau takes on a more traditional approach, while Descartes brings about the concept of individualism with his definition. Even with their very different methods of thinking and their varying views of the self, they did have some things in common. For one, they both had great confidence and belief in their concepts of the self. This is not only seen in their style of writing, but in how their writings were accepted at the time. Descartes attempted to define the self through a series of meditations. He sat alone in his room for days on end, trying to find some truth in an uncertain world. His first conclusion is that he is a thinking thing. This could be seen as his original definition of the self. The rest of his meditations try to expand on this. Through his second meditation, he finds that nothing is better known than the mind. Early on he attempts to incorporate the body into his definition of the self, but struggles with the uncertainty of the senses. He claims that the senses only perceive a
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