IB Philosophy Core: Descartes Meditation 2

Summary of Descartes' Meditation 2

  • Created by: Milly
  • Created on: 25-04-13 20:59
View mindmap
  • Descartes Second Meditation
    • Main points
      • Concludes that doubt is a form of thought, so he must be conscious and exist
      • Cogito ergo sum
        • I think therefore I am
        • Not  directly referred to in Descartes' meditations, but alludes to its meaning
          • sum res cogitans
        • Deductive syllogism
          • Consists of major and minor premise with a conclusion
      • Ergo sum, ergo existo
        • I am , I exist
        • Self  evident andnecessarytruth
        • Writes this instead of I think therefore I am
      • Wax block argument
        • If objects do exist and undergo phase change, then the only characteristics they maintain are extension, flexibility and changeablity
        • As wax melts everything that we perceive through our sense perceptions to define wax changes
        • He knows wax is wax through intellect alone
          • Only humans are able to understand, animals perceive changes in the wax but do not understand
          • Our senses and our imagination are limited to what can be determined, whereas our minds can conceptualise the infinite.
        • The mind is 'better known than the body' because he can see it 'clearly and distinctly'
    • Objections
      • There is thinking - no proof of who the thinker is
        • Ayer
        • Free floating thought
      • There is a thinker but not a proof that the momentary fragments of thinking are linked to a continuous self like Descartes 'I'
        • Russell
          • Are we the same self as 5 years ago, though we have substantially changed
          • No coherent argument given to the permanence of the thinker
      • Descartes might prove awareness of pre consciousness but no direct association with 'I'
      • Cogito ergo sum
        • Enthymatic syllogism
          • He misses a premise which would be 'All thinking things exist'
            • He would be assuming thinking things exist which he has not proven
      • Wax argument
        • Empiricists argue that Descartes cannot rely on the wax argument as he uses sense experience to understand the initial characteristics of object
          • In response Descartes may argue that he is not yet trying to prove that external objects exist, merely that if they do then extension is their only characteristic


No comments have yet been made

Similar Philosophy resources:

See all Philosophy resources »See all Descartes resources »