• Caoimhe
    1
    Hey everyone,

    I am studying for an exam on Philosophy of Mind, and even though I have studied Descartes many times before, it never occurred to me until now to question both of the premises to his argument from imagination for dualism.

    For those who don't know, the argument goes like this:

    P1 I can imagine that I have no body or spatial location

    P2 I cannot imagine that I do not exist as a thinking thing

    C1 I am a substance whose whole essence or nature is simply to think

    C2 This substance does not require any place, or depend on any material thing, in order to exist

    In response to the first premise, I don't think I can imagine that I have no body or spatial location.
    Furthermore, surely this works in favour of materialism because it suggests that you are your mind. Same with premise 2.

    Can anyone explain the first premise more in depth? Or is my argument against it a valid one?

    Thank you
  • A Christian Philosophy
    1k

    Hello. I think P1 is correct. (1) Descartes first determines that he is at least thought, for it is a self contradiction to think "I have no thoughts". (2) We find that a body is not an essential property of thought. For one thing, angels are possible, and are defined as rational immaterial beings, or thinking beings without bodies. Conclusion: it is logically necessary that we are made of thought, but not logically necessary that we are made of bodies.

    Where I personally disagree with Descartes, is his conclusion that our mind must be separate from our body. Just because it is logically possible does not mean that is it actual.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    In response to the first premise, I don't think I can imagine that I have no body or spatial location.Caoimhe

    Observe yourself during the sleep/dream process. Are you aware of your physical body? If not (I am not) them this is how you might imagine it. Daydreaming would be another example.
  • unreadpages
    3
    I think it makes it easier if you are naturally skeptical: "I don't believe any of the information I'm getting. Fake news could be everywhere. Only the fact that signals are being experienced is incontrovertible. That proves that at least I exist." I get that.
    The progress of the argument towards the existence of God is to me more effortful, and the control of matter by the mind via the pineal doesn't seem to be what my mind does at all.
  • T Clark
    10.8k
    Observe yourself during the sleep/dream process. Are you aware of your physical body? If not (I am not) them this is how you might imagine it. Daydreaming would be another example.Rich

    You're not imagining yourself with no body, you're imagining yourself imagining yourself with no body.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I was not being clear.

    There is no imagining when in a sleep or dream state. The mind simply has switched states of being. It is not observing or aware of the holographic external. It is all internal.

    In order to fully understand life in its entirety one has to first accept everything as actual but the mind is moving between different observation and memory different states. One has to accept Mind, our minds, and what it is doing.
  • Hanover
    9.5k
    In esponse to the first premise, I don't think I can imagine that I have no body or spatial location.Caoimhe

    I think that's correct, and I think Kant believed space must be assumed for the world to be coherent.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I think that's correct, and I think Kant believed space must be assumed for the world to be coherent.Hanover

    There is no space, as we recognize it in the awake state, when we are asleep or unconscious, but it all forms total existence.
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