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Rene Descartes: Mind over MATTER? Philosophy and the likes. ‘ Je pense donc je suis.’ “ Cogito, ergo sum ” “I see, therefore I am.” ~Renes Descartes~ Chng Luey Chi, Jek Jin and Tommy Sin. THE EXACT QUOTE. Originally by Frenchman Rene Descartes:”Je pense donc je suis”-I think, so I am.

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rene descartes mind over matter philosophy and the likes

Rene Descartes: Mind over MATTER?Philosophy and the likes.

‘ Je pense donc je suis.’

“Cogito, ergo sum”

“I see, therefore I am.”

~Renes Descartes~

Chng Luey Chi, Jek Jin and Tommy Sin.

the exact quote
  • Originally by Frenchman Rene Descartes:”Je pense donc je suis”-I think, so I am.
  • Translated into Latin
    • Cogito ergo sum
    • Sometimes misquoted as “Dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum”, meaning“I doubt, there fore I think, therefore I am.”
    • Roughly means that the mind is immaterial.
explanation of the quote
Explanation of the quote
  • “I think, therefore I am”
  • In Descartes' belief in his own existence he finds it is impossible to doubt that he exists, because the very fact that he can think means that he must exist to have a mind of his own.
  • Even if there was a deceiving body tricking him into existence, how could he be deceived unless he existed to be deceived?
  • Thus he was convinced that he existed.
explanation of the quote1
Explanation of the quote
  • Thus for magic, if you believe in magic, then magic is real, based on the principal of “I think, therefore I am.”
explanation of the quote2
Explanation of the quote
  • Idea that the thinking mind was somehow more real than the body in which it is housed (a.k.a. the Cartesian mind-body split);
  • Descartes established that emotions were due to the overall nature of the character of the individual--called Cartesian affect (i.e., emotion) theory: this would become the basis of things like music education, which attempted to develop the character by producing certain emotions in students, a kind of Beethoven emotion work-out; he established the supremacy of the observer over the things he observed.
explanation of the quote3
Explanation of the quote
  • In the Discourse , Descartes lays out all the essential ingredients of Cartesianism: In the first part, he describes how he arrived at a radical skepticism. Suppose the entire world and universe were a lie created by the devil: how could you prove that what you see around you is not a lie? How could you prove that various mathematical truths are indeed true and not some satanic fraud? Descartes finds that when he investigates all the human sciences, he can't prove them to be true against the objection that they might be false
explanation of the quote4
Explanation of the quote
  • He literally stops believing in everything, which he outlines in Part II of the Discourse; he refuses to accept anything that might be false
  • In Part III, he describes the problems this entails: if you stop believing in everything, including mathematics, how do you live your life? So he sets up some provisionary rules: if you can't be sure that anything is true, then you should accept temporarily what people around you believe, especially in the field of morals. Once you arrive at certainty, then you can reject what other people say is true, but until then, you need some system of knowledge and morality to live by.
explanation of the quote5
Explanation of the quote
  • Part IV narrates Descartes' increasing desperation to find some certain truth upon which he can build a solid structure of certainty; while mulling over the problem, Descartes suddenly realizes that the very fact that he is thinking proves that he, Descartes, exists: Cogito, ergo sum , "I think, therefore I am." For if he didn't exist, he wouldn't be thinking. (In fact, Saint Augustine realized this truth first: Augustine proves in Against the Academicians that one can't doubt everything because the mere fact that you're doubting everything demands that at least one thing be true: that you exist, otherwise you wouldn't be doubting.)
  • From this point, Descartes can begin to prove other truths, such as the existence of God.
explanation of quote
Explanation of quote
  • Cogito (“I think”) privileges the individual over tradition (Descartes explicitly rejecting tradition) and privileges the individual's perception of the truth over some objective truth or some commonly shared truth. In other words, the individual subjective experience is the foundation of truth. This notion would radically transform thinking in Europe and the West up through the present day.
explanation of the quote6
  • Descartes’s doctrine: "I am present to my body not merely in the way a seaman is present to his ship, but . . . I am tightly joined and, so to speak, mingled together with it, so much so that I make up one single thing with it" (1980, p. 94). The place where this "joining" was believed by Descartes to be especially true was the pineal gland—the seat of the soul.
more about its history
More about its history
  • Descarteswasnot the first to mention it.
  • Plato, a Greek philosopher, also spoke about the “knowledge about knowledge”.
  • Aristotle also explains : “But if life itself is good and pleasant (...) and if one who sees is conscious that he sees, one who hears that he hears, one who walks that he walks and similarly for all the other human activities there is a faculty that is conscious of their exercise, so that whenever we perceive, we are conscious that we perceive, and whenever we think, we are conscious that we think, and to be conscious that we are perceiving or thinking is to be conscious that we exist... (Nicomachean Ethics, 1170a25 ff.)”
purpose of quote
  • Effort to defeat skepticism
  • Implied that the fact that there was skepticism proved that there were errors in all humans, as humans were alike generally, and so if a human was critisised by another, they critic would just be admitting theoretically that he, too, was erring in his criticism.
types of stances for the quote
  • Substance dualists (supporting Dualism)argue that the mind and body are composed of different substances and that the mind is a thinking thing that lacks the physicalattributes : size, shape, location, solidity, etc.
  • Substance dualists fall into several camps depending upon how they think mind and body are related
    • Interactionists believe that minds and bodies causally affect one another. Occasionalists and parallelists, generally motivated by a concern to preserve the integrity of physical science, deny this, ultimately attributing all apparent interaction to God. Epiphenomenalists offer a compromise theory, asserting that bodily events can have mental events as effects while denying that the reverse is true, avoiding any threat to the scientific law of conservation of energy at the expense of the common sense notion that we act for reasons.
types of stances on the quote
Types of stances on the quote
  • Property dualists argue that mental states are irreducible attributes of brain states.
    • For the property dualist, mental phenomena are non-physical properties of physical substances. Consciousness is perhaps the most widely recognized example of a non-physical property of physical substances. Still other dualists argue that mental states, dispositions and episodes are brain states, although the states cannot be conceptualized in exactly the same way without loss of meaning.
mind over matter
Mind over matter
  • Psionics
  • John W. Campbell proposed the term "psionics", from psi (psyche) + electronics (machine), which implied that the powers of the mind could be made to work reliably to produce paranormal phenomena
  • Brain-matter, mind-stream of consciousness or nature of person’s consciousness?
mind over matter1
  • The problem is how any collection of cells, no matter how large and intricately related, could generate consciousness
  • Neural complexity cannot explain consciousness; it is merely a matter of how many cells a given cell can causally interact with. If our kidneys had as many cells as our brains, that would not make them conscious
mind over matter2
Mind Over Matter
  • Once nature (or God) put neurons in our head, there was no more work to do to give us consciousness
  • This is not because neural processes merely cause conscious processes; it's because neural processes are conscious processes
  • Possibly unsatisfactory explanation above: “If I know everything that the materialist says your mind is. Do I thereby know everything about your mind? On the contrary, I know nothing about your mind. I know nothing about which conscious states you are in -- whether you are morose or manic, for example -- and what these states feel like to you.”
  • Therefore, Knowledge of the brain does not lead to knowledge of the mind
mind over matter3
Mind over matter
  • How People Develop Illnesses
    • worrying or having fears can make someone physically or mentally ill-hypochondriac
    • example of negative thinking
    • Negative thinking does negative things like lower the immune system or mimic physical or/and mental illnesses
    • As one thinks, one becomes or develops into what one thinks
mind over matter4
Mind over matter
  • Using Imagination to Heal Oneself
    • Imagination is like another dimension, another universe, one that you the thinker can control
mind over matter5
Mind over matter
  • The Skeptical Mind
    • Skeptics use negative thoughts, they often use doubt and disbelief this sometimes works against them
    • Self doubt and self hate can lead to mental and physical illnesses
motivation for the quote
Motivation for the quote
  • The Religious Motivation
    • Descartes states that his purpose in showing that the human mind is distinct from the body (dualism) is to refute those “irreligious people” who only have faith in mathematics and will not believe in the soul's immortality without a mathematical demonstration of it
    • these people will not pursue moral virtue without the prospect of an afterlife with rewards for virtue and punishments for vice
motivation for the quote1
Motivation for the quote
  • He believes that these people will be obliged to accept them as the arguments are on par with geometrical demonstrations
  • Hence, irreligious people will be forced to believe in the prospect of an afterlife
  • Descartes claims only to have shown that the decay of the body does not logically or metaphysically imply the destruction of the mind: further argumentation is needed to conclude that the mind survives the body's destruction, which would involve both “an account of the whole of physics” and an argument showing that God cannot annihilate the mind. Even though the real distinction argument does not go this far, it does, according to Descartes, provide a sufficient foundation for religion, since the hope for an afterlife now has a rational basis and is no longer a mere article of faith.
motivation for the quote2
Motivation for the quote
  • Conclusion for the religious reason: There is hope for an afterlife for mathematical people, in a logical way, as even though one’s body decays, there is no reason to believe why one’s mind will decay too, as it is non-existent and the laws of decay and death don’t apply on it.
motivation for the quote3
Motivation for the quote
  • The Scientific Motivation
    • Descartes understood all scholastics to maintain that everything was thought to have a final cause that is the ultimate end or goal for the sake of which the rest of the organism was organized
    • This principle of organization became known as a thing’s “substantial form,” because this principle explained why some hunk of matter was arranged in such a way so as to be such a species of substance. For example, in the case of swallow, the substantial form of swallowness was thought to organize matter for the sake of being a swallow species of substance. Accordingly, any dispositions a swallow might have, such as the disposition for making nests, would then also be explained by means of this ultimate goal of being a swallow; that is, swallows are disposed for making nests for the sake of being a swallow species of substance. This explanatory scheme was also thought to work for plants and inanimate natural objects.
motivation for the quote4
Motivation for the quote
  • A criticism of the traditional employment of substantial forms and their concomitant final causes in physics is found in the Sixth Replies where Descartes examines how the quality of gravity was used to explain a body’s downward motion:
  • “But what makes it especially clear that my idea of gravity was taken largely from the idea I had of the mind is the fact that I thought that gravity carried bodies toward the centre of the earth as if it had some knowledge of the centre within itself “(AT VII 442: CSM II 298).
motivation for the quote5
  • A characteristic goal of all bodies was to reach its proper place, namely, the centre of the earth
  • So, the answer to the question, “Why do stones fall downward?” would be, “Because they are striving to achieve their goal of reaching the centre of the earth.”
  • According to Descartes, this implies that the stone must have knowledge of this goal, know the means to attain it, and know where the centre of the earth is located. But, how can a stone know anything? Surely only minds can have knowledge. Yet, since stones are inanimate bodies without minds, it follows that they cannot know anything at all—let alone anything about the centre of the earth.
motivation for the quote6
  • Conclusion for scientific motivation:
    • Criticism found flawed after careful analysis
    • Might have some sense in the aspect of religion but could be seen as a jab at religion, which implied that everything was here, God made everything, for a purpose.
example of mind over matter
  • Marthe Beraud
    • Nobel laureate physiologist Charles Richet described the production of a phantom, called Bien Boa, under experimental conditions that he felt negated the possibility of theatrical props or accomplices
    • “He seemed so much alive that, as we could hear his breathing, I took a flask of baryta water to see if his breath would show carbon dioxide.  The experiment succeeded.  I did not lose sight of the flask from the moment I put it into the hands of Bien Boa who seemed to float in the air on the left of the curtain at a height greater than Marthe could have been even if standing up...
    • A comical incident occurred at this point.  When we saw the baryta show white (which incidentally shows that the light was good), we cried "Bravo."  Bien Boa then vanished, but reappeared three times, opening and closing the curtain and bowing like an actor who receives  applause.”
examples of mind over body
  • Eusapia Palladino
    • A rough peasant woman from Naples
    • She came to the attention of the learned world through seances held with the eminent Italian sociologist Cesare Lombroso.  These seances continues to be held in Italy until 1894 when the French physiologist Charles Richet invited her to his private island to attend seances with Frederick Myers and Sir Oliver Lodge as well as J. Ochorowicz, a Polish researcher.  It was Richet's belief he would be able to prevent Eusapia from using props or accomplices while she was on the island.  The group witnessed most of the phenomena that had been previously reported: levitations, grasps, touches, lights, materializations, raps, curtains billowing, scents, and music.  At all times the researchers were holding Eusapia's hands and feet
example of mind over matter1
  • Nina Kulagina
    • Could exert a psychokinetic influence upon static objects. 
    • Moving small objects, without touching them, across a table top
    • Caught on film
    • Able to make images appear on photograph film.
conclusion overall
Conclusion overall
  • Psychic folklore
    • human beings may be able to exert an observable influence upon the physical world -- simply through the power of conscious intention; or unconscious intention, or; by some accounts, through the assistance of spiritual intelligences; or as a result of a mysterious principle known as synchronicity.
    • Skeptism could be fueled by ignorance.
conclusion overall1
Conclusion overall
  • There are reasons to think that, if psycho kinesis is real, it is a Pandora's box that is best left unopened by humankind -- even if the price for this is our ignorance, it could be dangerous if PK develops to large scale, when one can control the world through weather or some other means.
  • To what extent do you agree with this statement? State your reasons.