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Descartes holds that we can literally see other people (as opposed to, say, hats and feet from an upper-story window). Explain h - Essay Example

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Descartes holds that we can literally see other people (as opposed to, say, hats and feet from an upper-story window). Explain h

However, in real sense, Descartes actually posits that humans can understand their minds more readily than they can possibly ever understand their corporeal nature, which is subject to doubt (Newman). The theorist bases his arguments on the example of wax in its various forms i.e. solid and liquid form; according to Descartes, the perception senses cannot recognize the semblance in the different forms. In other words, the human senses are inadequate in themselves to effectively describe whether or not the molten wax is similar to the solid wax. Failure by the senses to recognize that both forms of wax are indeed indistinguishable calls us to the overall unreliability of human senses; they cannot provide adequate cognition about the nature of the wax, thus the two different forms of wax are inevitably differentiated. In this regard, Descartes eventually theorizes that perception is a function of the mind alone (Card). In the second part of his argument, Descartes posits that senses provide humans with a better and refined understanding of the nature of things, only that the senses in themselves are not sufficient to determine truth (Newman). Therefore, the senses are constrained by certain limitations thus implying that certain knowledge can only be achieved through judgment, understanding in human minds and thinking. However, it is noteworthy that Descartes, in his almost incredible wisdom, does not at any point rule out the contribution of senses in the process of understanding the nature of things. Rather, Descartes only seems to emphasize that sense perception in humans relies on the mind more than it does on the body. He is nothing else apart from a thinking thing/ a mind/ an intellect/ understanding or reason (“The Meditations”); this way, Descartes draws an obvious parallel between the mind and the soul. Descartes begins his investigations into perception by disbelieving/ deconstructing his prior knowledge on the nature of things (Newman); he questions even the truth of his own existence thus concluding with certainty that the only possible truth about it was, “I am, I exist”. However, this conclusion is still constrained with the fact that Descartes does not yet understand the nature of his being. This line of argument also leads him into drawing the second conclusion, equating intellect, reason, understanding, mind and soul with thinking. In this manner, Descartes has successively assigned himself a trait in an attempt to define his nature as a ‘thinking thing’ that can exist independently from the body (“The Meditations”). Thus, he still advances this further by stating that his thinking encompasses doubting, understanding, affirmation, refusal, imagination and sense. Having successively drawn a supposedly absurd parallelism between thinking and sensing, Descartes clarifies by stating that certain truth is established out of a combination of perceived sensations and thought processes. In other words, Descartes theorizes that that which is knowledge to the human mind, whose nature has been perceived by the senses is more embellished than that which is mysterious or imaginable (Card). In that case, it is easier for us to see people, as opposed to hats and feet, because our thoughts usually form images of human bodies which are then examined by our senses; other things like hats and feet do not ...Show more


Date Descartes’ Theory of Perception According to Descartes, we can literally see other people (as opposed to, say, hats and feet from an upper-story window); this is because our minds make judgements that what we have seen are indeed people, even if we did not clearly see real people…
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Descartes holds that we can literally see other people (as opposed to, say, hats and feet from an upper-story window). Explain h essay example
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