‘If The Mind Is A Spiritual Substance, As Descartes Maintains, It Cannot Be Ill.’

965 words - 4 pages

The mind-body problem is a dilemma. What is the relationship between mind and body? Or alternatively, what is the relationship between mental properties and physical properties?

Descartes believed that there were two kinds of substance: matter, of which the essential property is that it is spiritually extended and mind, of which the essential property is that it thinks.

So for Descartes, the essence of mind is thinking, while the essence of body is extension.

Descartes also believed in an independent non-material mind inhabiting and finding expression in a mechanically operated body. Descartes proposed the aphorism, Cogito ergo sum, which means “I think, therefore I am” in ...view middle of the document...

It’s a mind and body interaction.

However, does mental illness really exist? Or should I ask, does the ‘mind’ exist and interact with body?

My first concern is about what is the nature of the mind?
Descartes’ answer is simple, who thought that the sense of perceptions and physical passions of men were dependent upon the body, but awareness of them lied in the soul.
This means the mind is an unextended, non-material and indivisible thing. But where is it? Descartes said, “mind is something real that can exist in the body but does not occupy space. The brain is the major locus for the mind. However, mind is completely separate from matter and therefore from the brain.”
So Descartes was not sure where the mind is.

If the mind is non-material, non-physical, non-corporal in nature and has no position in space as how Descartes believed it to be, then how do the physical activities which my body performs, which has a corporal nature and a position in space, arise from this non-physical entity called the mind?
Following the path Descartes made, the body could be divided up by the removal of a leg or an arm, but the mind was indivisible. The mind occupied the whole body in all its parts, but the reduction of the body in any way did not reduce the mind. He believed the existence of the body is doubtful, whilst that of the mind was not, making the body only as an extension of his existence. Arguing along his path, if a person’s two legs were be taken away, he or she would still be thinking.. Such would still be the case if my arms, nose, ears eyes livers and kidney will be taken away from me. Because, thinking is the only attribute that cannot be taken from an individual. But if a person’s brain was taken away and sliced it into pieces, would he or she still be able to...

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