Hobbes Vs Descartes Essay, Research Paper
The question I chose to answer was number 3. Contrast Descartes thoughts of the mind against Hobbes thoughts. The paper will consist of the strengths and weaknesses of Cartesian Dualism. Cartesian Dualism claims the independent existence of a non-physical realm and a physical realm. Descartes believed in a nonphysical soul inhabiting and using expression in a mechanically operated body. He knew that the reality of the body needed no proof, but the reality of the soul did. He believed that there were two ways to think about things; Conception and Imagination. Descartes also believed that the body could be reduced but the soul could not. Descartes uses the cogito argument; I think, therefore I am to prove the existence of the mind. Several notions explain Hobbes thoughts about the mind and body. Hobbes believes that imagination is nothing but a decaying sense. He says that memory of different things is experience, that the train of thoughts or mental discourse comes in two sorts. First the unguided, or without design thoughts and the other is regulated or designed thoughts. He believes that there are two sorts of motion, one called vital or involuntary motion and the other being voluntary motion.
Descartes says there are two ways of thinking of things for mind and body. The first is the Conception theory; this is when you define an object. The next is Imagination theory; this is when you picture something in your mind. An example of this is defining a television with Conception, actually seeing and picturing a television in your mind with your Imagination. You can conceive of a square and not image a television. Descartes also says you can conceive some things and not imagine them. An example is conceiving a fifty-foot television but you can t imagine having one. So he explains that you can have a conception without imagination and imagination without conception. Descartes also has a Moral certainty about the existence of material objects. What he means by this is that things that are certain will always occur. For example the sun will always come up the next day.
Descartes believed that the body could be divided up by the removal of limbs, but the soul is indivisible. He said the soul occupied the whole body in all parts, but the reduction of the body in any way did not reduce the soul. Descartes said that the body was procreated, and the soul was created. Descartes states that he is not sure how, but thinks that the mind and body are controlled by the Pineal gland.
Hobbes starts out by saying that the imagination is a decaying sense and is found in men, whether they re sleeping or awake. When the decay is expressed and the man signifies that the sense is fading or old it is called memory. Hobbes believes there are two kinds of imagination; simple and compounded imagination. Simple imagination is imagining the whole object as it was presented to the sense, like if someone imagines a pizza or food; they see it because they ve seen it before. Compounded imagination is a fiction of the mind; you imagine something that does not exist. An example is when someone thinks their someone else because they were reading a book or from a movie.
Hobbes has two sorts of thoughts; first unguided or undesigned thoughts; the second is regulated or designed thoughts. The unguided or undesigned thoughts are thoughts that wander, and seem irrelevant to one another as in a dream. Hobbes thinks that men think but their thoughts are useless. The regulated or designed thoughts are much more permanent and constant. These are the thoughts of fear or desires that are so strong that we are awaken from our dreams by them.
There are two kinds of motion that Hobbes discusses; voluntary and involuntary motions. The first involuntary or vital motions are breathing, the course of blood through the body, for these kinds of motions no imagination is needed. The second kind of motion is voluntary. These kinds of motions are, speaking, walking. The imagination is the first internal beginning of all voluntary motions. If we think we can do it and imagine ourselves moving, it is possible. The small beginnings of motion within the body before they appear as walking or speaking are called endeavors. These small beginnings of motions are the base of how we act to certain stimulus.
Both of these philosophers bring up good points about the mind. I would agree more with Descartes although he presents his arguments about the mind in a roundabout but understandable way. Hobbes on the other hand is very direct but not as clear with his language. I agree with Descartes cogito argument; I think, therefore I exist without processing a thought you would be in a vegetational state. The only way you would be able to talk or move is by thinking about doing it first. I do not agree with what Descartes says about the body. That you can cut an arm or leg off and still be able to feel it. If it s not there you can t feel it. Hobbes thinks the mind is the cause of all voluntary motions but not involuntary motions. He thinks before you move you have an endeavor and then think of moving. I do not agree with this because of this example. Someone throws a ball at you; you either catch the ball or move out of the way. If you don t you are going to get hit. If you had to think about reacting without instinctly reacting you would get hit.