Descartes 2nd Meditation Essay

923 WordsFeb 27, 20154 Pages
2/8/15 Descartes: Second Meditation TOPIC A: “I think therefore I am”, is the single greatest line in this Meditation and arguable in philosophy. Descartes famously rationalizes in his Second Meditation that he is indeed a thinking “thing”. Not specifically determining what “I” really is or even if it exists. He is also not yet confident that his soul or physical body exists, but he is now certain that he in fact does think. He could exist with without any of the traits listed above, but he cannot exist without the ability to think. In this paper we will discuss how the relation between substance and modes proves Descartes’s Cogito Argument. It is crucial to understand substance, principle attributes, and modes to truly understand Descartes’s ontology. Descartes defines substance as something that does not depend on anything else for existence. According to Descartes, there are only three substances in the world; God, mind and body. These substances each have a specific principle attribute that makes it what it is. The mind’s principle attribute is thought and the principle attribute of the body is extension (we do not know God’s principle attribute). A mode, on the other hand, is much less intimately connected to a substance than a principle attribute. A mode is a particular way of being a principle attribute. For example, shape is a mode of extension. This means, shape is a way of being extended like an idea is to thought. In the second meditation Descartes’s is in search of the one thing he can be certain of, even if that one thing is that he cannot be certain of anything. He begins the Meditation aware that we cannot simply accept the things we sense is a truth. He believes that sight, touch, taste, smell and hearing can all be tricked or mistaken. Descartes puts forth his “evil-demon hypothesis.” This idea states that there is a chance, no

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