Rene' Descartes Descartes Discourse on Term Paper

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The fifth chapter turns from metaphysics to physics and applies his universal laws to scientific pursuits. The fifth chapter offers the reader one of the most challenging of applications, the superiority of man over beast, as the beast contains no soul, no reason and no thinking mind, and according to Descarts this is easily assumed because animals do not talk, therefore they do not reason and have no mind separate from their body. They are mechanisms of the universe, just as machines are mechanisms of the world of man. The modern reader, with a greater understanding of the animal and biological world is likely to argue that this is an example of the assumptions made trough tradition, as so much more is understood about the working of animals and the application of so many ideas of "social thought" than was ever imagined before and most modern people assume that man should not be separated from the animals simply because he talks and creates machines, but should be equated with animals as he is more like them that he wants to admit. I truly believe that Descartes may have been following many false assumptions as he divulges the proof of his assertion that animals are not reasonable creatures and that man is set apart from him. There is a clear sense of the character of his time sin this chapter and it is reflective of his education, rather than reason. Simply because we cannot understand an animal, does not mean he is more or less than we are. If the universe were ever to offer man a comparison to himself, such as an alien life form, then we would likely be unable to communicate with it, but we could never assume, especially if it reaches us, that it would be lesser or greater than ourselves, simply on communication alone. Descartes' closing chapter demonstrates the ideal of the purpose of writing and publishing. He divulges in the idea that though he, states he does not give much credence to his own thoughts he has been pressured by others to publish his works so they can be an example of learning for others.

The concept seems valuable, in that he has many strong points, and that if he had not done so we would not be able to read him today, but this is a contradiction for him, as his most immediate assertion is that every individual must learn these things for himself, through discovery. The final chapter also offers the reader the appropriate assertions of lack of malice, that were necessary in his time to make sure that his thoughts did not contradict or challenge religion, as it was a guiding force behind censure.

Descartes Ideas are solid in many ways, but also reflective of his time, and therefore must be read within his time, even though he would likely state that they are universal, as method. The works detailed here follow a line of reasoning that demonstrates individual responsibility for learning and the elimination of as many traditions and assumptions as possible, clearly a stoic ideal, as Descartes is also clearly a member of his own society, unable to set aside all to develop his goal of unencumbered observational thought.

Works Cited

Descartes, Rene. Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings. Translated by Wollaston, Arthur. Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 35.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 36.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston. (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 42.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston. (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 53.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 54.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 55.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 60.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 101.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore, MD: Penguin Books, 1960), 67.

Rene Descartes, Descartes' Discourse on Method, and Other Writings, trans. Arthur Wollaston (Baltimore,…[continue]

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