He lived from 1596-1650His Life and He was a famous FrenchWork philosopher, mathematician andDescartes was a writer.DUALIST. The mind He is considered the Father ofand body are made upof two different Western Philosophy.substances. You will recognise two of his major ideas. In Maths, you will have worked with the Cartesian co-ordinates system. The idea of ‘I think, therefore I am’ was his important insight which establishes human beings as essentially thinking things.
BACKGROUND TO THIS DOCUMENT Descartes believed that the • The human body moved universe and all objects and because it has nerves. living things and how they Messages are conducted along worked could be explained by these by ‘animal spirits.’ using the ‘laws of mechanics.’ • The animal spirits raced along Humans had an eternal the nerves and could travel to soul/mind. This was separate the brain where they tugged to the human body although on ‘ventricles’ and passed by the two interacted. They were the pineal gland where the made of different substances. mind resided. The animal The human soul was a gift spirits would then flow back from God and not subject to to the part and move the limb. the laws of mechanics. Animals were ‘machines’ and did not have a soul.
If humans and animal bodies are machines how are humans different to animals? HIS ARGUMENT IN THIS PASSAGE 1. HUMANS CAN THINK 2. HUMANS CAN COMMUNICATE THEIR THOUGHTS
WHAT GIVES US THESE TWO CAPACITIES? OUR RATIONAL SOUL ANIMALS DO NOT HAVE A SOUL OF ANY KIND.
SUPPORTING POINTS FOR HIS ARGUMENTSARG 1 Animals are machines. ARG 2 Humans have aThey don’t have souls rational soul.• Animals do have organs that Humans communicate their enable them to make sound. ideas. Even a child who They can even repeat speech suffers from ‘ a clouded mind’, BUT they cannot convey what Down’s Syndrome, a stupid they are thinking. Little is person, someone who is born required for speaking thus deaf and dumb can make they do not think. themselves understood to• Animals,’brutes’ make sounds other human beings. Even the but these are simply the most perfect animal of its working of their physical species cannot communicate parts just like the clock their thoughts. This is through its internal because they don’t have mechanical working shows thoughts. time.
Supporting pointsARGUMENT 1 ARGUMENT 2 Animals can often do things that we cannot. This is not a sign of their Human beings reason. intelligence but simply a result of how their bodies are organised and move. If it was they would have more reason than us. They are acting according to nature. We must not think that the sounds they make are speech. Machines can imitate their movement and sounds. Ancient people used to believe that animals ‘spoke’ to one another and that we simply didn’t understand them. This is simply not true. If it were they could communicate with us.