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Paper Topic:

Philosophy - Descartes and determinism

Descartes and Determinism

One of the more prominent figures in the history of Philosophy is that of the seventeenth century French philosopher Rene Descartes . In his works A Discourse on Method ' and the more famous The Meditations Descartes sets out to determine the limits of human reason as means of establishing precisely what sort of truth claims can be absolute . In the course of this analysis , Descartes outlines the foundations for some of Philosophy 's most debated issues such as that of dualism and foundationalism . In virtue of these ideas the subject

of free will vs determinism was subtly addressed through the dualism that Descartes subscribed to . By presenting an allowance of there being a soul separate from the body , physical actions were categorized as distinct from mental , or soulful , ones . This distinction was an indirect polemic against determinism as it related to the behavior of rational beings Here , in this , we will look more closely at the arguments Descartes set forth that supported his theses of dualism and innate ideas

First , it is important to understand that Descartes ' intention initially was ensure that truth statements could be demonstrated with assuredness and absolution . He was in pursuit of truth claims that were without suspicion . Up until that point , Descartes had found that what he had assumed to be reliable in terms of what he could say was true , upon close examination , was not as it appeared . The method that he used was to doubt everything and then proceed from where he could find an area of undoubted truth . For , I shall assume that everything I see is false that of the things presented to me by my deceptive memory has ever existed , that I have no sense , and that body , shape , extension and location are only fiction (Descartes , 63-64 ' In this attempt by Descartes to find a firm foundation to stand against doubt , he was not convinced that those things associated with the physical world would do In a similar vein as Plato , Descartes found that the sensual world was not the ideal realm for understanding

Descartes went beyond the physical , sensual world and focused on those things related to the mind . He was confident that , although what the senses store is not appropriate fodder for knowledge , what is proper to thinking and mental states is reliable . But , this did not include any rational thoughts , save one that one thinks . In referring to all that can deceive him , Descartes tells us let him deceive me as much as he can , he will never cause me to be nothing as long as I am thinking that I am something (Descartes , 64 ' So , the one firm foundation that Descartes can find is that he can not be deceived in thinking that he is not . Therefore , one is assured in at least this , that one exists

But Descartes was not even content with this . He went on to explore the nature of the self and what sort of being it was...

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