PHL 200B Philosophy of the mind essay.docx - Lauren...

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Lauren Paolucci PHL 200B Philosophy of the mind essayDescartess Philosophy of the Mind and it’s CritiquesIn his essay, “Substance Dualism,Descartes presents his metaphysical arguments for why the mind and the body are two distinct substances.Within his essay Descartes uses ideas from his epistemology while offering his own definitions for what minds and bodies are.There are many philosophers who disagree with Descartess within their own essays, Paul Churchland and Gilbert Ryle are two examples of such people.To fully understand Descartess arguments for why the mind and body are distinct substances you must also understand his substance metaphysics and his definitions of the mind and body.Descartes explains that to be is to be either a substance, an attribute or a mode. According to his epistemology, a substance is a being that exists and has properties, these properties that a substance has are attributes, and modes are the smaller characteristics that define an attribute. Descartes says that God exists as one absolute substance and that he creates two kinds of relative substances, minds and bodies.Descartes says the mind is a thinking substance that has been a scientific posit to explain different phenomenons. One phenomenon that it is invoked to explain is thinking and preforming mental acts. “But what then am I? A think which thinks.What is a thing that thinks? It is a thing which doubts, understands, [conceives], affirms,denies,wills, refuses, which also imagines and feels(Descartes,293).” Descartes mentions multiple different modes and attributes that create a thinkingthing.’Thinking includes the belief that the mind preforms multiple mental acts, the objects of theseare ideas which there are two of.Sensible ideas are based on good judgments and reason rather thanon experiences.Insensible ideas lack sensory perception,they are based on emotions rather than on experiences.The mind also explains voluntary behaviors. Descartes believes that no animals, other than humans, have minds.He says that if a creature has no mind than it is not conscious.If a certain behavior is not caused through thinking, but instead by its environment then the behavior is
involuntary. The mind is the cause of voluntary behaviors, they occur because of the persons conscious intent to act in that particular manner. The final phenomenon that the mind is used to prove is life.I know certainly that I existI rightly conclude that my essence consist solely on thefact that I am a thinking thing [or substance whose whole essence or nature is to think] (Descartes,296).”In his epistemology, Descartes inference explains why he cannot doubt that he is athinking substance based uponI think,therefore I am.’ His inference states that since he is doubting, and thus thinking he must be a thinking substance because thought cannot exist without a substance. He concludes that he does exist and that the nature of his existence is to think and that he

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