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Comparison of Descartes and Hobbes

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Comparison of Descartes and Hobbes essay

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There were several philosophers who contributed to the debate of the body and the soul, but the most notable ones were Descartes and Hobbes. Rene Descartes believed that the human body and the mind existed separately. To him, the body and the mind were two quite distinct substances, and one could be studied adequately without touching on the other. Thomas Hobbes, on the other hand, believed that the body and the soul existed together, and they complimented the functions of each other. Rene Descartes was a French philosopher and admitted that meditation showed that he is a thinking being. He supported that a body is able to acquire knowledge of the experiences in life when it separates itself from the mind. Descartes argued that senses could be deceiving, and therefore they should not be dependent on. He labels his mind as a thinking thing, and he depended on it for his meditation. Descartes explains that the body existed physically and the mind existed differently. He claims that the mind can still be operational even without the body. In opposition to this, Thomas Hobbes argued that the body and the mind existed together. Hobbes argues that the body and the mind had to work together to attain an overall sense of life. He further explains that we can form ideas from physical things, and this means that the mind is not even aware of its presence. Therefore, Descartes perceived that the body could exist alone without the mind, but Hobbes believed that the body and the mind could not exist separately since they both depend on each other to perform their functions effectively. Descartes and Hobbes were great philosophers who focused on the study of the connection between the body and the mind through their opinions differed to some extent.

Background of Descartes and Hobbes and How they Influenced their Philosophy

Descartes

Descartes was a great French philosopher and was often endorsed with the title of the “Father of Modern Philosophy.” He deserved this title because he founded sciences that were new and mechanical. Descartes contributed immensely to philosophy. This is inclusive of the widely recognized statement, “I think, therefore, I am,”. Descartes was a great scientist and mathematician, apart from his philosophy. He developed immensely in the field of science. Descartes’s field of science contributed immensely to his thinking. His French culture greatly influences his thinking because he was engaged significantly in culture. The French culture at these times greatly emphasized science and religion. Therefore this is the reason why his philosophy greatly emphasized science. Descartes was also highly religious, and this is the reason why he emphasized meditation. His philosophy of the body and the mind was to respond to irreligious people who believed in the immortality of the soul.

Thomas Hobbes

Thomas Hobbes was a great English philosopher who lived between 1588- 1679. He is widely recognized for his political thought, and they are still applicable in contemporary politics. Also, his philosophy of the body and the mind in response to Descartes’s argument is widely recognized. Most of his philosophy was dedicated to understanding human nature and the role that it played in enabling an individual to lead a morally upright life. His father vanished and left them in the care of their uncle. Involvement with the Cavendish family greatly influenced Hobbes’s philosophy. He was able to see the struggle of the rich and poor and through his participation in parliamentary debates. This influenced his perception of the body and the mind and how they worked to enhance human nature. Hobbes used an approach that was mechanical in the explanation of the body and the mind because he was a materialistic person. He strongly believed in the existence of the innate soul gave rise to the presence of innate ideas. Hobbes strongly believed that life resulted from subtle atoms that formed the human mind. He made use of metaphysical components, which exemplified his materialistic nature to explain the issue of the existence of the mind and the body.

Comparison of Hobbes and Descartes ideas of the body and the mind

Both Descartes and Hobbes were great philosophers who lived in the same period. Descartes founded the idea of the separate existence of the body, and the mind and Hobbes were responding to his argument. Although they had a differing argument about the body and the mind, they agreed on how they worked. They both believed that the body and the mind had to work together to attain a common purpose. Even though Descartes believed that the mind existed in a separate form with the body, he still agreed that they had to function together to enhance their overall purpose. Hobbes believed that the body and the mind existed in the same form, and they worked together to perceive things in the physical mind. Descartes argued that the mind could only understand the things in the physical world. They also believed in rationalism in the state of mind and body. Both Descartes and Hobbes agreed that the human body is moved by the power of the mind. The body, on the other hand, caused sensations and also obsessions to the mind. This is to means that the mind is only able to express itself through the body. Therefore, they agreed that the body and the soul worked together to carry out their functions.

Contrast

Descartes and Hobbes had differing views on the state of mind and body. Descartes believed that his thinking was proof of being. He believed in the rationalism of the mind and the body and believed that truth was enhanced by rationality. According to Descartes, the truth was something that did not have any flaws, and it was static, perfect, and eternal. Hobbes, on the other hand, believed that rationality was as a result of body and mind coordination. He believed that a rational being could be able to see the goodness of peace. Descartes believed that meditation played a vital role in enabling his thinking. He detaches the body from the process of mediation because he believed that the soul could exist on its own away from the body. He perceived a logical probability of the mind that existed in the body. Descartes claimed that the mind was capable of logical thinking even without the body, and he makes use of a metaphysical possibility. His method of rationality was to doubt anything and perceive minus bias or prejudice. Hobbes, on the other hand, strongly believed that the mind and the body have to work together to attain rationality. Rationality, according to him, enabled individuals to make decisions that helped them to lead a fulfilling life. Hobbes does not agree to the independent nature of the mind, as Descartes argues. He explains that the mind makes use of the body to formulate ideas in the real world to promote rational thinking.

Descartes believed that truth came from God, and one was not able to know Him until they understood themselves. He attempted to demonstrate the existence of God and how it affected the connection between the mind and the body. Descartes explained that the mind was able to exist separately from the body through the assistance of God. He firmly believed in religion, and it greatly influenced his perceptions of the body and the mind. Descartes thought that God could bring the existence of the mind even without the body and vice versa. The logical possibility of the separate existence of the body and the mind’s existence was inspired by metaphysical possibility. Minds without bodies and bodies without mind, according to him, would only be made possible by the occurrence of God, and therefore they are substances that are quite distinct. Descartes was attempting to explain the experiences that were reported in the community at that time, and that was the main reason why he associated God in his explanation of the body and the soul. Hobbes, on the other hand, believed that the body and instincts of doing what was right emanated from the sense of truth. Unlike Descartes, he believed in doing going and acting with rationality. Hobbes believed that the mind and the body worked together to produce the right instincts that guide the morality of an individual. Hobbes believed that tight instincts and senses gave rise to the truth. The primary emphasis of Hobbes’s philosophy was government and good citizens. He argued the excellent state of mind helped to enhance the concept of truth, which enabled individuals to lead a morally upright life.

Descartes argued that the concept of the soul entailed the intelligence perceptions and the learning of the free will, and this was quite different from learning the concept of the body whose primary focus was the issues of shape and motion. Descartes believed that natural rights were universal to all human beings, and they were supposed to serve the interests of all. Descartes believed that the mind is the primary determinant of life, and it is the one that controls the body. He claimed that even though the body and the mind are separate, they had to work uniformly to enhance the overall purpose of the human body. He bases his philosophy on the Muslims and Christians in the modern-day because he strongly believed in the existence of God and the role He played in controlling the body and the mind independently. Descartes believed that the body and the mind existed separately though in the same body and the only way that the only time that they parted ways was when the body died. Hobbes does not agree with the claim that the body and the mind existed separately. He was also firmly against the notion of free will. Hobbes claimed that the nature of humanity is what probes people to seek power. Hobbes believed that human beings had a state of nature that was independent, and this condition of a human without law resulted in fear and war against all. He believed that both the body and the mind needed each other to exist peacefully. Hobbes believed that the mind is a living thing as it is described by the scripture, and they have to coexist jointly to attain their general purpose in mind. IV. Descartes also believed that body and mind existed in separate entities, and he argued there was a two-way interaction between the body and the mind. Hobbes’s, on the other hand, believed that the body and mind were the same and rejected the dualistic imagery of body and mind.

Conclusion

Descartes and Hobbes were great philosophers, and they are recognized for their philosophy of the mind and the body. The held some similar views of the mind and the body, but their ideas differed to some extent. Descartes believed that the mind could be reduced, but the body could not. He makes use of cognate argument to support his argument. Descartes believed that the mind was a non-physical element that controlled the body, and it operated it mechanically. Hobbes, on the other hand, believes that thoughts of mental discourse play a vital role in the enhancement of imagination. The mind, according to him, helps to grasp nature and give individuals diverse perceptions. Both Descartes and Hobbes believed that the body and the mind had to work together to attain their purposes.

Bibliography

  1. Hequembourg, Stephen B. “Hobbes’s Leviathan: A tale of two bodies.” The Seventeenth Century 28, no. 1 (2013): 21-36.
  2. Rozemond, Marleen. “Descartes, Mind-Body Union, and Holenmerism.” Philosophical Topics 31, no. 1/2 (2003): 343-367.
  3. Sorell, Tom. “Descartes, Hobbes and the body of natural science.” The Monist 71, no. 4 (2014): 515-525.
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