This essay I’m discussing three philosophers who proposed different theories which shared similar ideologies.Plato believed that the body and mind are inseparable. Without one or the other, living is not logically possible.
Aristotle was opposed to the idea of objects being forms that is reflected from our minds. He rather chose to believe that these forms are distinctive for what they are; example: a dog and a cat are both living animals that have their own distinguishable personality. That our mind is looking at the real world physically and mentally. That the body and mind need each other in order for a living thing to survive.Descartes preferred the ideology of ontology; believing everything has reason and a scientific explanation for existence.
He emphasized ‘mind-body dualism’, where the mind can’t exist without the body and vice versa. By the end of my essay, I hope to accomplish an understanding of each theory in order to create a more innovative theory. Despite there being differences in each theory, they all find common-ground. This means there may be a bigger meaning when correlating all three. This topic is important to discuss because it relates to every living being.
To know for certain whether we can live without the body or mind and if life is just a thought of the mind itself. How do we know if one component is more important than the other (body compared to mind). These are questions I attempt to answer with a theory of my own, taking account the aforementioned theories I will be discussing in this essay. Plato’s thoughts are seen in his allegory of the cave. The people in the cave who see shadows/reflections of the objects reflect society’s motives and thoughts. The people who live in the cave don’t know the outside world so they believe their way of life is the only way. The reflections seen in the cave symbolize the “dark” images of society (known as the reflection of forms from the real world).
These images are a reflection of the “real world” as Plato states. This real world is shown through the wanderer who left the cave. He is enlightened by the outside world and realizes the cave is nothing but illusions. Plato believes our mind is fooling us and that we only see figments of the real world. Plato describes our physical and mental being as two separate ideas. Physical feelings are bodily; an example being you got bit by a mosquito and you have the need to scratch your leg.
Although there are a lot of differences between the body and mind, Plato believes they share a connection. When you lack water, you mentally and physically feel the urge to drink. This is depicted in his quote about separating the soul and body. “The cure of the part should not be attempted without treatment of the whole.
No attempt should be made to cure the body without the soul. Let no one persuade you to cure the head until he has first given you his soul to be cured, for this is the great error of our day, that physicians first separate the soul from the body.”Plato defines the soul with three elements: The Appetites: Our desires, wants, and physically satisfactories The Spirited: What is good and what is badLogical: Awareness, Concious, Decision Maker, Analyzations, and wisdomSocrates – Plato’s mentor – states “It is clear that the same thing will never do or undergo opposite things in the same part of it and towards the same thing at the same time; so if we find this happening, we shall know it was not one thing but more than one.” This is in reference to the three elements.
You only have one soul, meaning you are limited to what your soul is capable of. Aristotle, however, believed the body was part of the functioning soul. He made a ranking of hierarchy. For example animals are above plants because they have the ability to feel hunger. Humans are ahead of animals because we have the power to think and reason. He uses the analogy of an axe to to demonstrate his beliefs. If an axe was alive then its body would be made up of metal and wood (which is the equivalent to the human body).
It’s soul would be the axe, the axe is what defines the object: as an axe. This part gives it the ability to chop. Much like the mind, without the brain we’d have the inability to think. Aristotle states that the body is just matter while the mind is form. He says he knows it through experience having senses which allow us to live in reality. This capacity to think, the ability to feel hunger, etc.. are the capacities that make the soul.
Capacities = Soul. Aristotle treats these, he says, as including physical and non-physical components. A key word for Descartes is mind-body dualism. This theory is to show how the mind/soul and body differentiate. He believes that you are able to exist with the mind and without the body and vice versa.
This raises a few problems, such as “how can the mind move our limbs, “how can the body send the same sensations to the mind?”. He uses the distinction that some forms are created with the ability to think, etc.. A rock is a key example because it is only dependant on it’s physical form.
His argument between the distinction of mind and body is seen in the example of the rock. God could hypothetically create a world of rock, ultimately being distinct from everything else. Descartes hints at the soul being immortal.
He claims that the decay of the body does not mean the mind is also decaying. A point that shows the body can exist without the mind. Descartes states with his own quote, “I am thinking, therefore I exist.
(…) I was a substance whose whole essence or nature is solely to think, and which does not require any place, or depend on any material thing, in order to exist. Accordingly this ‘I’ – that is, the soul by which I am what I am – is entirely distinct from the body, and indeed is easier to know than the body, and would not fail to be whatever it is, even if the body did not exist.” In conclusion, I’ve learned the body and soul are equally as important.
Although there were/are few skeptics who believe we can live with one of the soul or mind. However, you can not really live without having a coexisting mix between the two. I reiterate that it’s an important topic because not only can it be controversial one, it’s more than just looking at science as it does not provide the full outlook. For these reasons I have to side with Aristotle, as his theory makes the most logical sense.