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Cartesian Dualism: the Mind/Body Problem as the Foundation for Modern Philosophy

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By sanai79
Words 1704
Pages 7
There is a wide variety of categories into which all things in the world can be divided. There are natural and unnatural phenomena; things created by mankind and those we consider to be product of the Supreme Mind; there is flora and there is fauna; there are things that we can modify and things that humans have no control over. One of the many ways to differentiate and classify everything and anything in the surrounding environment and, probably, one of the most universal ways, is to classify things as being either material or immaterial. It seems fairly easy to distinguish between the two. If we cannot touch, feel or see something, then it becomes the notion of the immaterial world. The rest belongs to the material things, which we can own, trade, purchase, possess, lose or give away. When Rene Descartes, one of the founders of the modern-day western philosophical science, laid the groundwork for his epistemological perspective called Cartesian Dualism, he was coming exactly from the same universal idea. The thoughts and hypotheses that Descartes tried so hard, throughout his lifetime’s work, to develop into axioms and prove to be fundamentally true, surprisingly remain highly debatable and are still largely in question.

Philosophy is very much about the question of certainty. To a great extent, from the epistemological perspective, knowledge is certainty (Harris, 2009). Just as the case is with Plato, whose quest for certainty has driven his metaphysics to take it, as a prerequisite, that if something is known, then it cannot change (Frank et al., 2011), Descartes too attempted to deduce the formula that would be true for all cases. However, while for Plato, it was the Form that was the thing we could consider to be unchanging and constant forever; the form as immutable, timeless, indivisible, indestructible, transcendent object of pure thought, Descartes...

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