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Are we our bodies or are we our minds Descartes and Nietzsche's arguments - Essay Example

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Are we our bodies or are we our minds Descartes and Nietzsche's arguments

I will discuss and compare arguments from both philosophers’ viewpoints in order to reach a conclusion. In “Meditations on First Philosophy,” Rene Descartes begins to uncover the underlying truth for humankind through various methods. His ideas and thoughts were considered radical at that time, particularly because his arguments went against those made by Aristotle, upon which society perceived truth (SparkNotes Editors). Because of this fact, Descartes tried to entice Aristotelian philosophers into reading all six meditations by starting off light. The first meditation is supposed to build the groundwork and is not supposed to come up with any quick answers. Descartes conveys to himself that whatever he thinks he knows so far must be doubted in order to build a solid foundation that cannot be proven false. He argues in the first meditation that his body is faulty and is bound to make errors. This leads him to believe that it cannot be trusted in showing him what the real truth is. In addition, he also starts to doubt his senses as they are an extension of his body and are thus flawed. Left with knowing nothing, Descartes slowly transcends into deep thought and begins to ponder if the world in which he lives is just a “universal dream” where some evil genius is trying to manipulate him in every possible way. The first meditation literally means “concerning those things that can be called into doubt.” This meditation raises many interesting concepts that Descartes attempts to explain. Descartes doubts his own beliefs because he recalls that they have deceived him previously. His reasoning is that if we have been deceived once, then there is the possibility that we may be deceived again. To avoid this from happening, Descartes believes that we must discard the ideas and thoughts that we doubt because they are untrustworthy. From these thoughts, Descartes come up with the idea of the Dream Argument. The explanation of this is that if he is dreaming or is being deceived, then his beliefs are unreliable. The concept of the Dream Argument shows up in the following meditations in the form of an “evil genius” who blinds everyone and tries to deceive us for his own benefit. Descartes explains how he feels that he is dreaming even when he is not. Descartes’ Dream Argument also suggests that he now has reasons to not believe his senses any longer because his senses are the tools in which he uses to perceive things around him. The upshot of Descartes’ argument is that he needs to hold judgment on his beliefs until they can be proven beyond belief. He admits that he habitually accepts truths about the world around him without basing his beliefs on proof. Skepticism is linked throughout Descartes’ first meditation; although he admits that no one can be fully skeptical of everything without good reason. However, he argues that it is difficult to justify dismissing skepticism (SparkNotes Editors). After Descartes finishes the key points of his first meditation, he then moves onto the second meditation. In the next meditation, Descartes makes a distinct argument for why the mind is important in our existence and for survival, and also how it is more known than the body is. Descartes builds upon his argument from the first meditation in his second meditation. This meditation is known as “on the nature of the human mind, which is better known than the body.” Descartes pushes forward in his quest for the absolute ...Show more


First and Last Name Professor’s Full Name Name of Course or Subject 8 July 2011 Are we our Bodies or are we our Minds? Descartes and Nietzsche’s arguments In philosophy, the imperative matter of what is mind and what is body comes into practice many times as philosophers deconstruct the human disposition…
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Are we our bodies or are we our minds Descartes and Nietzsches arguments
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