Descartes Wax Example

Topics: Sense, Perception, Mind Pages: 3 (1209 words) Published: April 16, 2007
Descartes main and objective purpose in life is to find absolute truth or to know for certain that nothing is true. Descartes two-sided paradox leads him to question and doubt almost everything in order to find the ultimate end of happiness and pleasure. Among many doubts, Descartes looks to understand the senses of the body in the extension to the physical world. Through examining the five senses of sight, taste, scent, touch, and sound, and the imagination Descartes tries to find absolute truth or complete doubt in knowledge. Descartes perplexity of sensations and imaginations, ultimately leads him to discover that the senses and the imagination cannot be the only driving force to know an object, but it is the inspection of the mind in which it judges it to be certain. Descartes begins his argument by affirming that the mind is an entity that senses things in the physical world. In order for the mind to perceive and sense there must be a subject and an object that is being observed. For example the eye sees a picture of a dog, the subject is the eye and the object it perceives is the dog. "I understand all that is capable of being bounded by some shape, of being enclosed in a place, and of filling up a space in such a way as to exclude any other body from it." (p19; 26). In order for the eye to see, there is an extension in space that we are able to perceive. The object to be perceived and a separate perceiver are the coexisting relationship between the object and the subject. With this said there could also be doubts of what is being sensed. Someone with distorted mental capabilities, or someone who maybe asleep would sense something different through the use of their imagination. They would not actually perceive the object through their senses, but only in their imagination. "I seemed to have sensed in my dreams many things that later realized I did not sense." (p19; 27).

Descartes continues to argue that all that is perceived through sight, taste, scent,...

Cited: Descartes, Rene. Meditations on First Philosophy, Hackett Publishing Co, Originally published in 1641
P. 19; Section 26
P. 19; Section 27
P. 20; Section 28
P. 21; Section 30
P. 22; Section 31
P. 22; Section 32
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