Critically compare Socrates and Descartes's Views of the Mind

Topics: Soul, Mind, Ontology Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: April 20, 2015
Critically compare Socrates's forms and Descartes's essence Being both substance dualists and rationalists, Socrates and Descartes have similar views of a metaphysical ideal which bears superiority over the physical realm. However, they both have different expressions and notions of what such an expression would entail, with Socrates proposing the existence of a perfect, incomposite Realm of Forms, which has the ability to inform the appearance and qualities of the imperfect and composite physical realm. These forms inhibit the physical body and give them their principal identity while Descartes's essence is the inherent substance to which physical properties are built upon. Socrates's forms are also cannot be destroyed, and as his notion of a soul is akin to the forms, the soul also cannot be destroyed. Comparatively, Descartes's essence has no defined lifespan, but is rather simply better known than the body. Both Socrates and Descartes, in accordance to their Substance Dualism, believe that their respective form or essence has causal control over the body as part of either the mind or the soul.  

Socrates's notion of Forms is fundamentally flawed, as it raises many objections which lead to absurdity. Primarily, if there is to be a true form for everything in the physical world, would that mean that the forms in themselves are imperfect? For example, there may be a perfect form of banana for all bananas, but yet the perfect form of fruit is that of an apple. Is that to say that the perfect form of banana is somehow less perfect than the form of an apple because it is only the form of a banana and not that of a fruit? Or does it somehow bear thinking that a banana is therefore not a fruit, or that simply, the notion of "perfect" forms which correspond to the material we encounter every day is inapplicable. In the context of the soul being akin to the forms, would the "problem of perfection" with Socrates's Realm of Forms then lead us to believe that there is a...
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