lecture 2 - Philosophy 262g Descartes on mind and its...

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Philosophy 262g Descartes on mind and its relation to body
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Descartes’s argument for mind-body distinctness: the text (abridged) First, I know that if I have a vivid and clear thought of something, God could have created it in a way that exactly corresponds to my thought. So the fact that I can vividly and clearly think of one thing apart from another assures me that the two things are distinct from one another—that is, that they are two—since they can be separated by God…I have a vivid and clear idea of myself as something that thinks and isn’t extended, and one of body as something that is extended and does not think. So it is certain that I am really distinct from my body
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More formally: (1) If I have a ‘vivid and clear’ thought of something x as existing apart from y, then it is possible for x to exist apart from y. (2) I have a ‘vivid and clear’ thought of myself as existing apart from my body. (3) Therefore, it is possible for me to exist apart from my body. (4) If it is possible for x to exist apart from y, then x is not the same thing as y. THEREFORE I am not the same thing as my body.
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Vivid and clear thought A vivid and clear thought of something depicts the essence or nature of that thing: those characteristics, and only those characteristics, that the thing must have in order to exist ; the ones that, if the thing were to lose them, it would cease to exist.
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Support of premise 2 (a) My vivid and clear thought of myself is (solely) that of a thinking thing, and my vivid and clear thought of my (or any) body
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