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Descartes - A Piece of Wax - Essay Example

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Descartes - A Piece of Wax

There are many principles which create certain thought which will lead us to conclude something that is usually consistent and powerful. We guide our lives by these thoughts and ideas. And much of this comes about because of our faculties, which allows us to sense things in different magnitudes. Our five senses can lead us to believe in things that may fail us. During Descartes’ second meditation, he decides that everything he sees is not really there. What our eyes perceive may be a result of what the world has labeled to be real. But what our minds observe, gives us greater insight into the world around us. II. Our Mind’s Observations The observation of the world around Descartes has caused him to take a step back and view his life in a different manner. He creates doubt within his own mind because without doubt, he holds that one is naive in their thinking. Doubt allows for reflection and with reflection comes the knowledge of what needs to improve and how one may go about with the improvement. Without doubt, life in itself is blissful. The doubt that Descartes experiences is so powerful that he feels he can’t just forget what he is thinking. He has to act upon this new found doubt and get to the root of the problem. III. Doubt and Certainty For Descartes, the root of the problem is not doubt. Part of Descartes meditation lends closer towards finding out what is being doubted and he states that he will not rest until his longing to find what is certain is satisfied. He is so adamant to find a solution that he is willing to compromise. That compromise is him relinquishing all rights to finding what is certain and being ok with the fact that nothing may be certain in the end. Certainty is not guaranteed. In much of Descartes writings he makes arguments that cause one to think about their existence, the purpose of their existence and the end result. Observing a piece of wax lends towards his argument on the fact that the mind is more certainly known than the body due to perception. He says that all knowledge of external objects, including his body, could be false as a result of a demon. However, the idea that his mind exists cannot be a deception because his nature is not just made up of the body but also of a thinking thing. He says that even the corporal objects such as his own body is known more distinctly through the mind due to how the mind perceives what is in front of it. IV. Perception’s Relativity Perception is key to knowledge. Such is the idea of wax that Descartes was vehemently focusing on during his second meditation. As the wax melts, he believes that our minds begin to perceive its matter differently. Our mind realizes that the purpose of the wax has changed and can no longer be used in the way that the world has previously dictated. The properties create a new and yet meaningful definition that only our intellect can comprehend. Though the property of the wax may have changed, it now lends to a new purpose but keeps the same name. Our minds know and understand that regardless of the property the wax may be in during a particular state, it still is and will always be a piece of wax. Descartes claims that we know this ...Show more


A Piece of Wax I. Introduction What a person perceives is mainly due to their knowledge of their surroundings which can be either known or unknown. Without the understanding of the human mind, it is hard to know the body. Descartes, during his meditation on a piece of wax said “it is now manifest to me that bodies themselves are not properly perceived by the senses nor by the faculty of imagination, but by the intellect alone.” The bulk of the essay will explain judgment and imagination which are two faculties Descartes focuses on during his second meditation…
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Descartes - A Piece of Wax essay example
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