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Descartes: Mind over Body - Essay Example

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This essay "Descartes: Mind over Body" has a goal of explaining the key features of the philosopher's work and outlook on things…
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Descartes: Mind over Body
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Download file to see previous pages However, in the twentieth century, it is his enduring legacy as a philosopher which is most well-known. His declaration, “Cogito ergo sum,” – ‘I think, therefore I am,’ is one of the most renowned lines in the history of philosophy. Over his lifetime, he published several works of Mathematics, Physics, and Philosophy, including the Compendium of Music, Rules for the Direction of the Mind, Discourse on the Method, The Geometry, Meditations on First Philosophy, Principles of Philosophy, and Passions of the Soul. Descartes spent the major part of his life in the Netherlands and moved to Sweden in 1649, where he died of pneumonia the following year, on February 11. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy).
In 1641, Descartes published in Latin, and later in French, his Meditationes de prima Philosophia (Meditations on First Philosophy), which is arguably his most popular work in contemporary times. Descartes intended the Meditations to be his exposition of metaphysics. He invited criticism from the foremost intellectuals of the period and included their objections and his refutations in his publication. In his six meditations, Descartes broke away from the old, Aristotelian way of thought, mainly in his rejection of the reliability of forms and the senses. His path-breaking line of thought was the clear demarcation of the idea of the mind from the idea of the body. Descartes’ self-declared goal in writing his Meditations was to irrefutably prove “the existence of God --- (and) the real distinction between the human soul and body” (Meditations, Dedicatory Letter to the Sorbonne, paragraph 5). The subtitle of the Meditations explicitly reads, ‘in which are demonstrated the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.’ The principles of metaphysics, with which the Meditations are concerned, include Descartes’ elucidation on the nature of matter, God’s role in the creation and preservation of the world, the nature of the mind. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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