• Wayfarer
    21.1k
    The passage you’ve linked to clearly says in many places that Descartes conceives the soul and body as separate substances, with the soul acting on the body through the pineal gland, for example:

    In the Treatise of man, Descartes did not describe man, but a kind of conceptual models of man, namely creatures, created by God, which consist of two ingredients, a body and a soul. “These men will be composed, as we are, of a soul and a body.’

    ….. Descartes’ criterion for determining whether a function belongs to the body or soul was as follows: “anything we experience as being in us, and which we see can also exist in wholly inanimate bodies, must be attributed only to our body. On the other hand, anything in us which we cannot conceive in any way as capable of belonging to a body must be attributed to our soul.

    While it’s true that the description of his position in terms of other schools of though might be a matter of debate, Descartes’ dualism is a fact of his philosophy.

    My point was that for Descartes held the soul and body to be held by one egoGregory
    Not a point you will find support for in any of the sources you’ve quoted, as far as I can discern.
    ‘Cogito’ is purely the functionality of the ‘res cogitans’, whereas all the motions of the body, he describes in ‘mechanical’ terms with reference to ‘animal spirits’, although as the article notes, he made important errors even in terms of what was known in his day, all of which is of course completely superseded in our say.
  • Julian August
    13
    The actual question is whether existence is possible without a subject opposed to each of its own predicates, such as in the case of us humans. We know that 100% of all which means anything to us exists, whether or not a given essence belongs to them correctly, the question is whether existence can itself be without predicates without also negating the predicates such as in the case of ourselves.

    This question turns out to be identical to the question whether existence is possible without time, which in turn is identical to the question of whether existence is possible without the diminution of the mode in which substance appears.

    This is answered by meditation, through meditation can it be revealed that existence neither needs predicates nor subjects contradicting them, that is, through meditation can negation and time be absolved, not objectively, it remains a mystery why the diminution of physical substance should have its own independent rate except teleologically for our purpose, which even if it is truly there for our/life purpose does not answer the given mystery.

    The comprehension of these as the actual questions we are concerned with when it comes to existence constitutes what I call contextualism, which is the only consistent form of skepticism, which accepts no application of concepts beyond their actual context, dividing into a. the actual empirical experiences from where they originate and b. the possible experiences of imagination, and of less importance but worth mentioning: b originate in a by exhausting all other possibilities (there are non except an infinite regress (saying that imagination can come from something outside of things which has their ground in experience is itself an imagination).
  • Julian August
    13
    I would not need any expensive evidence to show you that you have denied each of the stories you have told yourself, whether knowingly or performatively, and that you live this way on a second to second basis, if not in terms of grand narratives/self identities then in terms of ideas and experiences all of which you deny as your own being, as your own first person perspective.

    It can certainly not be denied that when it comes to all we know or have witnessed, that whatever it may have been happened in conjunction to that first person perspective, and so I ask 1. does existence possibly mean something independent of it, and if so could an essence be independent of it? Would it be conceivable that an essence and an existence were coupled without it? And how on earth could they mean something without the coupling?

    I have proposed answers to these and the above questions in my own writing, but will refrain from a monologue regarding them, if someone knows why these are the actual kernel around which we may have meaningful argument, and have understood why I ask these questions the way I do I would further dig into it in this thread or elsewhere.

    And thanks to the threadstarter for the topic!
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    And thanks to the threadstarter for the topic!Julian August

    However, your two above entries show no discernible relevance to the topic, which specifically mentions Aquinas. The digression into Cartesian dualism compared with Aquinas’ dualism at least carried a reference to the OP.
  • Julian August
    13


    I am new to the forum, perhaps it is a norm that if a name of a philosopher is relevant and explicitly referred to in the OP that we do not comment about the conceptual bases and nature of the post unless we include the relevant name in our response? Or at least quote a section of the OP?

    This is often the better way to respond to a post, as it would make it clearer how what I wrote relate to it, though it should certainly be obvious and discernible that it relate as it stands.
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    There is plenty of scope to explore philosophical topics on the forum, and you’re welcome to do so, but this particular thread was about a very specific topic in the history of philosophy, that’s all.
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k
    The soul forms the body for Aquinas while Descartes the ego is completely united by the pineal gland with all the rest of the entire body. Any differences are in language and presentation, not conceptGregory

    "Soul-as-substantial-form is the same as ego-connected-to-body-via-pineal gland. It's just a difference of words." That's absurd. What are you talking about?! :groan:

    Does not a Thomist say his arm is his body, not partly his soul?Gregory

    As I said above, a Thomist will say that his arm is not his soul and in fact he will say that the soul is simple and therefore nowhere in space (and yet the body is in space).Gregory

    Where do they say this? If you claim to have been reading the Summa since you were 12, why can't you provide any citations for your opinions?
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    While it’s true that the description of his position in terms of other schools of though might be a matter of debate, Descartes’ dualism is a fact of his philosophy.Wayfarer

    Here is what the SEP says:

    In the secondary literature, one finds at least the following interpretations.

    1) Descartes was a Scholastic-Aristotelian hylomorphist, who thought that the soul is not a substance but the first actuality or substantial form of the living body (Hoffman 1986, Skirry 2003).
    2) He was a Platonist who became more and more extreme: “The first stage in Descartes’ writing presents a moderate Platonism; the second, a scholastic Platonism; the third, an extreme Platonism, which, following Maritain, we may also call angelism: ‘Cartesian dualism breaks man up into two complete substances, joined to another no one knows how: one the one hand, the body which is only geometric extension; on the other, the soul which is only thought—an angel inhabiting a machine and directing it by means of the pineal gland’ (Maritain 1944, p. 179). Not that there is anything very ‘moderate’ about his original position—it is only the surprising final position that can justify assigning it that title” (Voss 1994, p. 274).
    3) He articulated—or came close to articulating—a trialistic distinction between three primitive categories or notions: extension (body), thought (mind) and the union of body and mind (Cottingham 1985; Cottingham 1986, ch. 5).
    4) He was a dualistic interactionist, who thought that the rational soul and the body have a causal influence on each other. This is the interpretation one finds in most undergraduate textbooks (e.g., Copleston 1963, ch. 4).
    5) He was a dualist who denied that causal interactions between the body and the mind are possible and therefore defended “a parallelism in which changes of definite kinds occurrent in the nerves and brains synchronize with certain mental states correlated with them” (Keeling 1963, p. 285).
    6)He was, at least to a certain extent, a non-parallelist because he believed that pure actions of the soul, such as doubting, understanding, affirming, denying and willing, can occur without any corresponding or correlated physiological events taking place (Wilson 1978, p. 80; Cottingham 1986, p. 124). “The brain cannot in any way be employed in pure understanding, but only in imagining or perceiving by the senses” (AT VII:358, CSM II:248).
    7) He was a dualistic occasionalist, just like his early followers Cordemoy (1666) and La Forge (1666), and thought that mental and physical events are nothing but occasions for God to act and bring about an event in the other domain (Hamilton in Reid 1895, vol. 2, p. 961 n).
    8) He was an epiphenomenalist as far as the passions are concerned: he viewed them as causally ineffectual by-products of brain activity (Lyons 1980, pp. 4–5).
    9) He was a supervenientist in the sense that he thought that the will is supervenient to (determined by) the body (Clarke 2003, p. 157).
    10) The neurophysiology of the Treatise of man “seems fully consistent […] with a materialistic dual-aspect identity theory of mind and body” (Smith 1998, p. 70).
    11) He was a skeptical idealist (Kant 1787, p. 274).
    12) He was a covert materialist who hid his true opinion out of fear of the theologians (La Mettrie 1748).


    So you are taking one interpretation of Descartes and since that is how other Descartes articles on SEP interpret him, you think it must be correct. Is it because it is the majority opinion?
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    s it because it is the majority opinion?Gregory

    No, it's because I believe it the most accurate view. And I don't believe any of that supports this contention:

    My point was that for Descartes held the soul and body to be held by one egoGregory
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    Where do they say this? If you claim to have been reading the Summa since you were 12, why can't you provide any citations for your opinions?Leontiskos

    What citations do you want? I said that some of what Aquinas wrote on this I don't find philosophically meaningful but when you take the meat from it, you have the same Descartes, a body and soul, with different presentations of it. Am I not allowed to take what I want from Aquinas or must I accept all of it. The spiritually significant reality is the truth of body and soul. Cartesians and Thomist use to condemn each other. Maybe they can live in harmony. But the SEP list given in above post shows how distinctions can lead to skepticism
  • Leontiskos
    1.7k
    What citations do you want?Gregory

    Given that this thread is filled with your claims about Aquinas and your criticisms of Aquinas, one would expect to find that you have quoted or cited Aquinas at least one time. But you haven't. Not once. Therefore I conclude that you have no idea what you are talking about, especially given how incongruous your construals and criticisms are. Carry on, then.
  • Gregory
    4.6k
    . And I don't believe any of that supports this contention:Wayfarer

    Well we have the body on one side with the animal spirits and imagination, and then soul on the other. Soul has ethical obligations with how it uses it's body. So this ethical duty to use soul, animal spirits, and imagination in moral coordination. would amount to a personality. Which is why I provided the SEP link on his ethics on passions and such. This is what I meant by "ego". What did you mean by it?
  • Wayfarer
    21.1k
    This is what I meant by "ego". What did you mean by it?Gregory

    At issue is NOT what I mean by it, but whether Descartes

    held the soul and body to be held by one egoGregory

    Which he does not, as the SEP link you provided amply illustrates.
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    No, the issue was what you and i mean by ego. Is it the soul, body, or both. And as i said the article gives the general opinion but goes on to cite all the other interpretation. Descartes believed we own a body and soul. Animal spirits are truly ours. But alas ive repeated myself over again. I dont know how you became a moderator
  • Gregory
    4.6k


    "Although the mind’s status as a substantial form may seem at risk because of its meager explicit textual support, Descartes suggests that the mind a “substantial form” twice in a draft of open letter to his enemy Voetius:

    Yet, if the soul is recognized as merely a substantial form, while other such forms consist in the configuration and motion of parts, this very privileged status it has compared with other forms shows that its nature is quite different from theirs (AT III 503: CSMK 207-208).

    Descartes then remarks “this is confirmed by the example of the soul, which is the true substantial form of man” (AT III 508: CSMK 208). Although other passages do not make this claim explicitly, they do imply (in some sense) that the mind is a substantial form. For instance, Descartes claims in a letter to Mesland dated 9 February 1645, that the soul is “substantially united” with the human body (AT IV 166: CSMK 243). This “substantial union” was a technical term amongst the scholastics denoting the union between a substantial form and matter to form a complete substance.

    Surely Descartes maintains that mind and body are two substances but in what sense, if any, can they be considered incomplete? Descartes answers this question in the Fourth Replies. He argues that a substance may be complete insofar as it is a substance but incomplete insofar as it is referred to some other substance together with which it forms yet some third substance. This can be applied to mind and body as follows: the mind insofar as it is a thinking thing is a complete substance, while the body insofar as it is an extended thing is a complete substance, but each taken individually is only an incomplete human being...

    This account is repeated in the following excerpt from a letter to Regius dated December 1641:

    For there you said that the body and the soul, in relation to the whole human being, are incomplete substances; and it follows from their being incomplete that what they constitute is a being through itself (that is, an ens per se; AT III 460: CSMK 200).

    The technical sense of the term “being through itself” was intended to capture the fact that human beings do not require any other creature but only God’s concurrence to exist. Accordingly, a being through itself, or ens per se, is a substance. Also notice that the claim in the letter to Regius that two incomplete substances together constitute a being through itself is reminiscent of Descartes’ remarks in the Fourth Replies. This affinity between the two texts indicates that the union of mind and body results in one complete substance or being through itself. This just means that mind and body are the metaphysical parts (mind and body are incomplete substances in this respect) that constitute one, whole human being, which is a complete substance in its own right. Hence, a human being is not the result of two substances causally interacting by means of contact and motion, as Gassendi and Elizabeth supposed, but rather they bear a relation of act and potency that results in one, whole and complete substantial human being."
    https://iep.utm.edu/rene-descartes-mind-body-distinction-dualism/
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