more from René Descartes

Single Idea 2298

[catalogued under 17. Mind and Body / A. Mind-Body Dualism / 1. Dualism]

Full Idea

Since I am clearly a thinking thing and not an extended thing, and on the other hand I have a distinct idea of a body, as merely an extended thing and not a thinking thing, it is certain that I am really distinct from my body, and can exist without it.

Gist of Idea

Mind is not extended, unlike the body


René Descartes (Meditations [1641], §6.78)

Book Reference

Descartes,René: 'Discourse on Method/The Meditations', ed/tr. Sutcliffe,F.E. [Penguin 1968], p.156

A Reaction

How can he be 'certain' for this reason? This is a classic confusion of ontology and epistemology. Given that the mind is a special case, he should be asking WHY his thinking is clear to him, but his body isn't. Maybe it is because of his viewpoint.