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Paper Topic:

Kant vs. Descartes

Thing in Itself

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Thing in Itself

Rene Descartes ' method of doubt provides the argument for the existence of the mind , which is , perhaps , the cornerstone of his philosophy Immanuel Kant , on the

other hand , treats `reason ' or rationality as a crucial factor in his philosophical accounts . With regard to Descartes the concept of the `thing in itself ' can be analyzed in terms of his method of hyperbolic doubt , such that he cannot doubt that he exists . As for Kant , the concept of the `thing in itself ' can best be understood in terms of his treatment on the distinction between the noumenal or rational world and the spatiotemporal world

Descartes method of doubt tells us that the only thing that an individual can be sure of is his existence , such that the fact that one can begin to doubt one 's existence is proof that there must be that something which `doubts . Given that there is a looming `doubt , it cannot be questioned that there is indeed something that doubts , and that `doubting ' thing is a thinking thing . At the least , the attribute of being able to doubt makes Descartes to believe that he exists for if he did not then he would not have doubted his existence in the first place (Garber ,

. 226

As a result , Descartes gives primary emphasis to the mind such that our sensory perceptions cannot wholly provide us with real knowledge . For instance , Descartes provides his classic example of the wax . A wax has a certain size , shape , texture and odor among many others . After the wax is melted , Descartes tells us that many of the physical properties of the wax as observed by our sensory perceptions have changed . Thus , our senses cannot give us the assurance of the essence of the wax , or of things in general . It is at that point that Descartes believes that the deductive mind should be the basis for our inquiries on the essence of objects

Hence , it can be said that the concept of the `thing in itself ' in terms of Descartes ' philosophy stands as something which claims that there is a material , external world outside of the mind . Things by themselves , then , would be as they are whether or not the mind is able to grasp these external entities . Descartes is also known for his belief in the mind and body dualism , such that the mind is a separate entity from the corporeal or physical body . In its entirety , it can be said that Descartes is espousing the idea that the thing in itself is one which is in the external world , although it can also be the thinking thing , or the...

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