Rene Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy: Second Meditation

1 Sep

This is the second writing about the meditations on my site, the writing on the first meditation is in the Rene Descartes category to your right (as well as a paper I wrote 2 years ago about all 6 dialogues together). The second meditation by Descartes is about the nature of the human mind. The theme that Descartes drives towards in the whole meditation is that the thing we can be sure to exist is ourself.  Many smaller arguments are mildly taken up by Descartes within the mediation, but all lead up to his justification for the existence of the thinking thing.

Descartes stated towards the beginning of the meditation that ” .. I cannot perceive without the body.” Descartes states this after discussion of the deceiving God, and about the self, mind, and body in general. I choose to take up this statement because it is paramount in discussing the deceiving or nondeceiving characteristic of God (I discuss the deception further in the discussion on the first meditation). This argument does  360 degree turn back into the argument about how God deceives us, and leading up to, I think, I am. Going on to the quote above’s argument, I think that Descartes statement about  perception without a body is somewhat false, and somewhat true. Lets clarify that the body, in all the cosmos, is just a material limitation that we are destined to reside in during our occupation of earth. God (not Descartes’ deceiving god) made the body a temple for us to respect and reside in. Lets also clarify that the soul, or our individual spirit that either becomes a tortured spirit or an angel after death, is a person’s immaterial spirit that is of no substrata, and has all abilities of perception when not limited by God. The material body is a limit that is put on the soul (and as I have said multiple times on this website, we are only here to serve God and pass the test to find salvation amongst all the evil we are presented) because of how God places the soul within this body. To fulfill God’s purpose for us living on this earth for a short time (here to either find God’s salvation or go to hell for eternity after life on earth), He must limit the soul’s perceptions. I am quite sure that the soul without a body is able to perceive things  because of the things angels have done in biblical times and beyond. This understanding of the bodiless soul having all possible perception falsifies Descartes claim that there must be a body to perceive. There is, however, a difference between the perceptions the naked soul has, and perceptions the body limited soul has in the creatum. Contrasting with the bodiless soul, the body limited soul has perceptions because of the sense organs God created for the body. These sense organs are created by God to purposefully distort the images we see. God distorts our sense organs in the body limited soul because we are to go against the ‘seeing is believing’ standard, and put faith in God regardless of what we see. So, without a body we cannot have normal perceptions. I use this term to state what most beings in the cosmos have:  perceptions with sense organs within a body that are distorted purposefully by God to test the soul to find Him.  To correct Descartes, normal perceptions cannot be had without a body, but his original statement is wrong, because perceptions of infinite value can be had only when without a body.

To do that ‘360 degree’ turn with the previous argument into the theme of the second meditation, it is Descartes paramount view that God deceives and tricks him, therefore he thinks that the only thing that can be known to exist is the oneself because I think, and I am. It is my understanding that Descartes is lead to think that he is tricked by God because of the normal perceptions he has. He states that a perception cannot be had without a body because ‘I think therefore I am” would not work without that aforesaid statement. The sense organs are the way God deceives him, and those sense organs are within the body, so by this he justifies the statement stated in the previous paragraph. Descartes uses these justifications to lead to stating only the self can be known to exist, and without these his argument would fall apart (for example with my tearing apart his argument).  Finally, before going on to discussing the main argument of ‘I think therefore I am’, Descartes creates uncertainty of all other things besides the self because of how he believes he is being tricked by God and other things that mislead him. The ruling out of certainty of most things lead him to the oneself.  Wittgenstein and the solipsists did the same thing without the presence of a deceiving God.  Setting aside now all of the things that lead up to Descartes stating the justification for self existence, lets go on to the main argument.

The main theme of the second meditation that I have been talking about all throughout Descartes’ justification for this theme, is when he states that because he thinks, he has evidence enough that he exists, and this goes for all people: “I think, therefore I am.”  It is my opinion, but not what I ultimately want to discuss at this point, that stating that ‘I think’ is a great way to link yourself to sure existence. We are thinking things, and because of how we carry out the somewhat advanced process for anything, we can be sure to exist. If we have no other evidence for our own existence, the process of constant thinking is a great one to rest your case upon. How can there possibly be something that thinks but does not exist?  Just contemplate that opposing question a bit. After my own contemplation on the matter, I cannot come up with an answer. If there is any thought that goes on in any of the cosmos, it is directly linked to some conscious being. There is no way around it. “I think, therefore I am” is a ground breaking statement and is true in all cases. It is however not what we should finally come to when searching for evidence of our own existence. Things rested in God and His processes should come first in our search for evidence for our own existence before finally coming to “I think therefore I am.”

Descartes’ process he came through to get to “I think, therefore I am” is not a good or truthful one, and he postulated a lot of false things before coming to it. Regardless, however, of how false Descartes’ precedences for this statement are, the final proposition is entirely true.

This writing was somewhat disorganized in that I went from one remote part of Descartes argument and finally funneled into the main one, but hopefully it is understandable enough to understand why Descartes’ precedences to the main theme are wrong, and why “I think therefore I am’ is correct.

Thanks for the support.

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