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How Does DesCartes Use the Example of Wax to Reinforce His Argument of the Existence of the Self - Term Paper Example

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How Does DesCartes Use the Example of Wax to Reinforce His Argument of the Existence of the Self

Descartes, Meditations on First Philosophy) This is all the more reinforced when Descartes came up with the “wax argument” in substantiating his proof on the existence of the self. To Descartes, the program of radical doubt must be established on a solitary endeavor or more appropriately, a deliberate isolation which forms the nature of his philosophical work having been freed of social or emotional disturbances enabling him to inquire “What shall I say of the mind itself, that is, of myself? For as yet I do not admit that I am anything but mind. What, then! I who seem to possess so distinct an apprehension of the ‘piece of wax’, do I not know myself, both with greater truth and certitude, and also much more distinctly and clearly? For if I judge that the wax exists because I see it, it assuredly follows, much more evidently, that I myself am or exist, for the same reason: for it is possible that what I see may not in truth be wax, and that I do not even possess eyes with which to see anything; but it cannot be that when I see, or, which comes to the same thing, when I think I see, I myself who think am nothing (Descartes, Meditation II).” Basically, Descartes proposed the “wax argument” in two stages being – “(1) the argument from change; and (2) the argument from intellection then personified the “wax” in an entity called ‘Bob’ who sits on the mantle as time ‘t’ passes (Graziano, 2011)”. It is claimed that at an instant, Bob is found with initial properties such as those which the senses are susceptible to experience in terms, for instance, of temperature change, phase shift, or shape transformation. “At time ‘t’, Bob can assume the shape of an orb while being cold and solid at the same time while at some time after ‘t’ he may possess a new state of matter where he can take another form and become warm instead. All such differences with respect to observable properties over time account for ‘the argument from change’ from which may be supposed that if Bob, as an object, is removed of a property in undergoing a specific change through time yet proceeds to ‘exist’, then his property may not be acknowledged as part of his essence (Graziano)”. It would follow then that every other trait of Bob which is perceived by the senses is beyond Bob’s essence in that regard. Upon reaching the second stage, the argument develops with the use of intellectual treatment that begins with not managing to identify the properties associated to Bob or the ‘wax’ via faculties of the senses (a posteriori), rather, with the sole recognition of the essential properties as flexible, extended, or transformable apart from sense perceptions. “A posteriori knowledge follows a proposition in reference to ‘matters of fact’ which may be sought through sensory experience and besides sole reason, an ‘a posteriori’ argument requires observation and non-demonstrative inference (Harrison-Barbet, 2011)”. Thus, the meditating observer is reduced to a choice between imagination and intellect (a priori) in knowing the properties of essence altogether comprised in the ‘ ...Show more

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Complete How does Descartes use the example of wax to reinforce his argument of the existence of the self? Rene Descartes essentially presented his arguments with joint consideration of the method of doubt and of analysis, venturing to cut into ‘skepticism’ by demonstrating that if one were to take a systematized path to the unknown truths he initially doubted, then the process eventually leads to the discovery of truths which no doubts may hold any further…
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How Does DesCartes Use the Example of Wax to Reinforce His Argument of the Existence of the Self essay example
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