des and witt - Kara Zenni PHIL 1100 Jolley Descartes and...

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Kara Zenni PHIL 1100 Jolley Descartes and Wittgenstein’s Arguments of the Use of ‘I’ In Descartes’ Philosophical Writings and Wittgenstein’s The Blue Book, both philosophers help the reader approach their thoughts on many insightful topics. Descartes discusses the body and soul and helps us navigate through their distinguishes. He then joins together with Wittgenstein to further explain the word ‘I’, its use and what it really means to them. Although Descartes and Wittgenstein may not always agree on these matters, they make clear arguments to help support their beliefs. In his writings, Descartes distinguishes between the soul and body. Although many may perceive these as one, Descartes demonstrates to us their many differences. Descartes believes the body occupies space, which he defines as being extended. He says that the body is a corpse with a mind (soul) attached to it. This means that the body can still exist after we are deceased. Similar to the body, the mind exists without the body, which serves as just a sailor in the ship (body). Descartes sees this to be a problem. Descartes believes in doubting all of his beliefs, and then seeing which are strong enough to survive his testing. To make this possible, Descartes creates what he calls an evil demon. An evil demon can deceive you with every action and allow yourself to distrust all that you have known. After much deliberation, Descartes finds that the body has been confirmed dubitable and says that we cannot actually know if we have a body. Descartes, however, believes that the soul is something to trust.
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Descartes describes the soul as a gas inside the body. He explains that the soul is not extended in space, meaning it does not occupy space, but extended in time because our conscious mind has a history. Just like the body can exist without the soul (mind), the soul can exist without the body. Therefore they are not connected. To prove this, Descartes goes back to the idea of his evil demon. Descartes concluded that the evil demon rendered the body as dubitable and he surprisingly enough said that the soul is something certain. The only belief that is in Descartes possession is “I think therefore I am”. He believes the mind is transparent to itself, therefore making it known to itself. This complicates things. When using the term ‘I’ who/what are we talking about? Descartes believes that because we concluded that the body was dubitable due to the evil demon, this means the only thing certain is the soul, therefore defining the term ‘I’. Even though Descartes makes a good argument while defining ‘I’, Wittgenstein
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2012 for the course PHIL 1100 taught by Professor Jolley during the Spring '11 term at Auburn University.

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des and witt - Kara Zenni PHIL 1100 Jolley Descartes and...

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