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What do you think comprises reality - Term Paper Example

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What do you think comprises reality

We do not have a direct perception of substances in minds, but only a representation of them. What we know is not what is inherent to the substances, but only the secondary and primary qualities. Thus, according to Locke, the substances are bodies, which are material, and souls, which are immaterial. Then there is God. He explains the existence of God, not from inherent ideas, but from sense-experience. Their basic substance is assumed from the perception of physical qualities, since qualities must have a solid basis. Likewise, a spiritual soul is formed from the observation of mental operations. We perceive bodies through sensation and have a lucid and instant idea of our soul by reflection. The outside world is independent of the mind. The presence of real objects is what causes real sensations in us (Tully 53). Locke further says there are interactions between the body and mind, both of which are real beings, resulting in the actions of our bodies and minds. The changes experienced by the soul are as a result of its being acted on by outside bodies. On Locke’s third substance, God, he provides that we shape an idea of God by expanding or taking to infinity the rules and objects of our sensations and reflections. What we experience are existence, extension, knowledge and power. Taking them to infinity is our idea of God (Tully 67). Descartes described a substance as a particular thing. He argues that there are material or physical substances and thinking substances, the mind. The substances have characteristics called modes. Modes of physical substances include their location in time, space, shape and volume. The mode of thinking substances includes ideas, judgments and desires of the subject. Every substance has an essential property. The essential property of a material substance is occupying space and time. The essential property of a thinking substance is thinking. Therefore, having ideas, believing or desiring are ways of thinking, and having a shape and volume are ways of occupying space and time. Descartes further divides material substances into finite and infinite. Examples of finite materials are human bodies, plants and earth. Likewise, human minds are finite thinking substances. Adding a third substance, he says God is an infinite substance. Therefore, according to Descartes, there are three types of substances; modes, finite substances, and infinite substance. Descartes views reality as relative and divides them into formal and objective reality. Formal is the kind of reality something possesses by merit of the type of thing it is. Infinite substances, finite substances, and modes possess formal reality in varying degrees. Modes have the least formal reality, followed by finite substances then infinite substance in ascending order. The amount of formal reality contained in something is determined by its dependence on another for its existence. The higher the dependence something has on another for existence, the less the formal reality it contains. Modes depend on finite substances, and in turn finite substances depend on infinite substances for existence (Tully 41). For example, the shape of a ball would not exist without a ball, but a ball could exist without that shape. On objective reality, Descartes contributes that first it is only possessed by representation. This means that it is possessed by things that stand for other things. Basically, these are ideas. Examples of representations ...Show more

Summary

Philosophers have shown in various ways that substances exist in different forms, depending on individual perception. They range from material to immaterial and finite to infinite. This paper will discuss several arguments pertaining to the nature of substances…
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