Sunday, 25 March 2012

Bits of Descartes

Descartes – Self identity

survives death

Descartes – Disembodied consciousness

Descartes believes that we are constantly aware of everything around us; this is because our mind and personality live on after our physical body dies. He believes in a much more personal view on our rational mind. Descartes states that it is implied that our mind and memories carry on in an afterlife. He believes that once our body dies and decays the two substances of the mind and the body seperate. The body has extension and emotions compared to the mind which does not. Descartes is a rationalist.

Descartes: consciousness survives death.

Descartes: Disembodied Consciousness - As a substance dualist and the father of Cartesian Dualism, Descartes would argue that it is possible to have a conscious mind without a body, because mind and body are both ontologically distinct substances that differ in the very nature of their existence. When our ephemeral bodies die the eternal mind endures death and lives on, and is therefore still a conscious mind, but one without a body. For Descartes, this is our afterlife, and although his account of it is not very detailed, it is his example of disembodied consciousness.

Descartes (disembodied consciousness) – Descartes believes that the mind and body are ontologically distinct. The mind is non-physical and lacks motion, whereas the body is physical and has extension and motion. Descartes believes that once dead the rational part of out mind lives on.

Describe what Descartes believes about the mind in 77 words.

Descartes believes the mind is ontologically distinct from the body; they are separate because Descartes can have a clear and distinct idea of each one. The mind lets your body function through thought and that source of though comes from the rational part of our minds. He believes the mind is eternal and implies life after death for it but as he cannot prove it he does not say it will happen indefinitely. It’s also the soul

Describe what Descartes believes about the body in 43 words.

The body can influence the actions of the mind through the pineal gland because of the body’s passions. He also believes the body is like a machine as they have extension and motion but are subject to the laws of physics, nothing else.

Describe what Descartes believes about our self identity in 2 words.

Lives on.

Describe what Descartes believes about our disembodied consciousness in 91 words.

Descartes implies that our disembodied consciousness does exist and is eternal which means it shall live on after death. This is because Descartes was a Christian and so this has influences him because Christians believe that we as a person and what makes us us will move on to heaven of hell and exist there for eternity. So the only thing in Descartes theory that is not eternal is our body and that dies and decays as it is subject to the laws of physics but the rest does live on.

Descartes on self identity – It survives.

Descartes: Personality survives.

Descartes: As a substance dualist, Descartes believes the soul and body are two separate substances. This because Descartes says:

I can have a clear and distinct idea of the soul and body. Whatever I can think of as clear and distinct, god can create it clearly and distinctively so the soul and body must be ontologically distinct. Descartes believes that when we die our body dies, yet our soul is eternal and endures. As a christian, Descartes believes the soul is eternal and retains the personal identity but he can't prove this.


Descartes, a 17th century rationalist and substance dualist believed that the mind and body are ontologically different, but they can interact. The mind has no motion or extension and does not follow laws of physics. Whereas the body has motion and extension and does follow the laws of physics. Descartes believed that the mind and soul survive after the death of the body but he never specified what happened to them after our death. Therefore Descartes believed that our mind lives on, possibly implying that we go to heaven, as well as our passions and consciousness

Descartes – Self Identity

They survive.

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