Nature Essay Research Paper Descartes explains in

Nature Essay, Research Paper

Descartes explains in nature that he exits by having such qualities and abilities to see, touch, taste and smell. Although existing in nature includes being able to walk, have perception and thinking, Descartes believes that he is a thinking thing. (Thinking includes understanding and reason).

But what is a thinking thing? It is a thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses that imagines also, and perceives. Assuredly it is not little, if all these properties belong to my nature. (Popkin)

Descartes realizes that with all of these attributes, he is a human and a thinking thing yet when he observes the lump of wax and observes the transformations that it undergoes, he questions the principles that he developed. At first the lump of wax is, or appears to be, hard and cold with a sweet odor that can be held and a sound is created when tapped upon. But when held to a flame, it changes dramatically from its once distinct shape. The smell that once lingered disappears, the size increases and a totally different figure is formed. The object is also not in any condition to be handled any longer. By conducting this experiment, Descartes concludes that even though the piece of wax lost its shape and some of it s features, it was still the same piece of wax.

Assuredly, it could be nothing of all that I observed by means of senses, since all things fell under taste, smell, sight, touch, and hearing are changed, and yet the same piece of wax remains. (Popkin)

By observing the wax it is apparent that although it lost its shape and senses it was still the same exact piece that it was before it transformed due to the heat. Perception is not just the ideas of sight or touch, but something more deeply than that. Therefor in regards to judging people or anything for that matter, it is foolish to judge

them based solely on sight or external observation. Descartes explains how just by listening to someone or observing their actions formed no grounds for criticism or stereotyping. A person displaying a bad attitude or speaking in a vulgar language does not necessarily classify anybody into any kind of negative category. Through observing the lump of wax, it at one time seemed one dimensional with certain characteristics that accompanied it yet, it ended up changing into almost the exact opposite of what Descartes had first perceived.

Because Descartes exists and has senses, he touches the wax and he feels it, therefor he exists and the more that he observes about the wax the more he learns and knows about himself.

So, likewise if I judge that the wax exists because I touch it, it will still also follow that I am; and if I determine that my imagination, or any other cause, whatever it may be, persuades me of the existence of the wax, I will still draw the same conclusion. (Popkin)

Descartes notices that the lump of wax is still the same object; it only changed slightly and enlarged. All objects are here for a reason, fulfilling a purpose. They are seen and touched but not always understood. Descartes looks deeper into the actual item and tries not to judge it based solely on first perception. Material things come in a variety of shapes and sizes and many different possibilities.

The Aristotelian view of science was derived from Aristotle s conception that scientific knowledge should serve as basis for providing explanations of why or how something is the case by starting from the nature of the things evolved. Aristotelians didn t think that finding the general physical principles concerning change and its causes was the main goal for science. Bacon, on the other hand, differed in his arguments against them. He blames Aristotelians for going straight from observation to first principles.

No general principles could be known a priori but must all be deduced by a procedure of successive generalism from experimental investigations and observations. (Parkinson)

The actual goal of science is to discover the most general principles structuring the world. Only then can we get the full account of forms of things. Aristotelian science said that they could only learn from observation of naturally occurring things and items such as artifacts do not contribute to the understanding of nature. Bacon, on the other hand, argues that the route of scientific knowledge could not be simply an observation of nature taking its course, but instead a mandatory intervention that could come from any kind of device. With these apparatuses, experiments are conducted and that is how you get to the bottom of it all. The two opinions differ in that while Bacon includes such things as heat, whiteness, and brittleness as forms of nature, the Aristotelians defined those things as qualities. Bacon s theory tends to make the most sense. Basically, in

order to understand the world and the nature of the world, many steps are required to fully understand reasons for occurrences in nature.

In religious language, three alternatives are questioned. Is our language expressed about God entirely the same as he is? Is it entirely different the way that he is? Or is it similar? Aquinas opted for the third choice for many reasons. He believed that we spoke a religious language, which is the same as God, the belief that analogy is the only adequate answer. He says that analogous religious language is the only way to preserve the true knowledge of God.

This name God is taken neither univocally nor univocally, but analogically. This is apparent from this reason-univocal names have absolutely the same meaning, while equivocal names have absolutely diverse meanings; whereas analogical, a name taken in one signification must be placed in the definition of the same name taken on other significations. (Geisler) The analogical perspective that Aquinas takes shows how he believes that God and religion cannot be scientifically demonstrated. The two ideas of science and religion don t equate. He believed that God went beyond the limited ability of human concepts and God had a special relationship with his creatures, which is understood as being not accidental, but essential. Aquinas also explains God, as being an infinite being with other humans belonging to him as his finite creatures which is also not explainable by scientific knowledge. Through these revelations it is clear that Aquinas had a solid view of God and many religious aspects with no intentions of including a form of science in

them. The religious language that we all speak is because we all know who God is, it s a universal name, and the religious analogous language is understood.

A substance has one principal property which constitutes its nature and essence. (Woolhouse) This statement is according to Descartes. For him these two specific principals properties are extensions and thought. The thinking substance being the mind and the extended substance being the body. However, Spinoza and Descartes have been compared and contrasted considerably regarding the issue of the mind and body.

Like Descartes, Spinoza thinks in terms of principal properties but he calls them attributes. Spinoza, also like Descartes, believes that God exists as a substance and that he is a thinking substance as well. But Spinoza does not agree with Descartes that the idea of there being any thinking substances other than God. While Descartes feels there re finite created thinking substances, such as us, Spinoza argues that there is just one thinking substance. Spinoza s argument is this; there is only one thinking substance and that is God. And the one and only substance is both an extended and a thinking substance.

Spinoza follows Descartes in calling the corporeal or material universe res extensa . But the res extensa is no creation of God: it is God.

This says that Spinoza s extended substance is Descartes extended substance and it is the corporeal world. It also says that for Spinoza, this extended substance is God. From these quotes and conclusions it is apparent to me that when Descartes says that God exists and an extended substance exists, he means something totally different then what Spinoza means when he says the same. The existence of either substance or

God is defined differently between the both of them. The two have clashing opinions on mind and body because one s beliefs in extended substance does not coincide with the other. I tend to lean towards Descartes theory because he explains that as the extended substance, the parts that extend from us like our body parts are separate from our mind which is something in its own. As a human we have a mind and a body. Yes, our mind does control our actions and emotions but they work together. Thus, I don t feel that Spinoza s view is all that accurate because the two substances are essential and they shouldn t be treated as a single unit. In our corporeal world, there are extended substances. There are also thinking substances. I don t think that Spinoza s idea that the two substances are the same is sensible.

There is not much progress made by trying to prove that one is certainly a thinking thing, if so, why do that when you are discrediting all possible thoughts? Descartes was seeking a foundation of truth from which he could attempt to discover other possible truths. His method was to break down other ideas and notions until he finally came to the bottom of it all. Through his methods, Descartes was able to prove that he was a thinking thing and that he does have an imagination which is a part of his thinking. During the process, he gave examples of how everything else that we believe is possibly false. This leaves the skeptics with more questions and arguments against Descartes. He was able to prove that one single certainty exists but it seems somewhat redundant. To skeptics, being a thinking thing is not enough to satisfy them.

Descartes states the Methodological Principal-for any X if X can be rationally doubted, and then X will be given up as false. This is an attempt to prove certainty yet radical skepticism says certainty can never be achieved. Through the Methodological Principle, Descartes rationally doubts the physical world because knowledge of it is acquired through the senses which could be an illusion like something in the distance or a dream. By allowing a lack of certainty in the physical sense but not a complete lack of it, this caters to the skeptics and their views on Descartes.

Descartes wanted to find certainty. He wanted to find out what was absolutely true and to build on that. While doing this his methods became so strict that he started to corrupt himself and he was afraid of moving upwards. Through his work he ended up conditioning himself against his goals.

Hobbes defines passions as being our voluntary motions due to our external world and external objects surrounding us. The voluntary motion that humans do is such thing as walking, going, speaking, moving, etc. Hobbes also explains that with the desire that is instilled within us, we are able to proceed with these motions and desires that we yearn in our minds such as hunger and thirst. He says some people are born with these desires while others move upon experience, but without the desire, there is no motion. In some ways that can be beneficial and in some ways it s not.

But aversion we have for things, not only have heard us, but also that we do not know whether they will hurt us or not. (Popkin)

Through this conception it is understood that not all humans are the same, therefor, there are all forms of desires. Not every external object causes the same desires within each man. The senses play an important role in determining a desire within a human. Certain external objects such as light, odor, sound, etc. can also cause various motions. And a body made up differently than another, i.e. Someone who has lost the ability of some senses, causes different motions as well.

Hobbes says that in our lives we have passions, things that make us move. Delight, pleasure, and fear are all examples of emotions that we as humans feel. When feeling these emotions we deal with them in specific ways. But Hobbes also says that what we desire is always good, not only do we try to benefit ourselves, but each other too. Hobbes also battles with the idea of being good and evil and what he claims to explain that is if the desire is strong enough; the outcome will be beneficial to the human. Not only will the outcome benefit him but also others in that when the goodness

is achieved, the counseling to others is the best. Overall, the main emotions are appetite, love, or desire and without these it is difficult to exist. Also without the senses, we can t make required motions in life.


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