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In this paper, Rene Descartes's argument for an incorporeal mind distinct from the material body will be examined. Philosophers call Descartes’s formulation of a separation between mind and body the “mind-body problem.” In the sixth chapter of his book Meditations, Descartes sets out to provide a lengthy proof that mind and body are separate entities, but they also work together. This paper examines Descartes’s sixth Meditation, and his formulation of the mind-body problem, first by adumbrating the pivotal points of the argument, then offering some objections, a response, and a summary conclusion of the claims Descartes makes.
Réne Descartes (1596 - 1650)
In the Meditations, Descartes uses a method of doubt to come to the conclusion that “thought alone is inseparable from me.” Descartes maintains that the “I think” is what he can know with certainty; he arrives at this conclusion by putting everything he thinks he knows under doubt, and discarding anything he cannot know for certain....