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Free EssaysPhilosophy CategoryThe Way People ThinkBuy an essay
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The question about the things that make our existence possible has been an issue for many researchers. One of those specialists is a French philosopher René Descartes. He assumes that one can exist only due to thinking. Besides, he is sure that only the God’s existence is certain. All other things are questionable.

Moreover, Descartes insists there is no analogy between walking and thinking. He says that walking usually refers only to the act of walking, whereas thinking may refer to the act, capability (e.g. ability to walk), thing (e.g. the individual walker), which posses the capability. He also adds that all animals are machines. Therefore, humans, as all other animals, are able to perform different actions such as walking, eating, running etc. However, the only thing that distinguishes human beings is the reasonable capability of their mind. In his Meditations, Descartes defines a “thinking being” as a “being which doubts, understands, conceives, affirms, denies, wills, rejects, imagines, and perceives” (Baird & Kaufmann, 2003, p. 411). In addition, Descartes says that the human ego is the mind, but not the body.  However, there is one thing that Descartes recognizes as indubitable. He thinks that people should not question the God’s existence, because it is the metaphysical certainty. Therefore, the metaphysical certainty is clearly not a synonym for the Latin cogito. Metaphysical certainty and cogito resemble such mathematical terms as axiom and theorem, where “metaphysical certainty” is the axiom that does not require a controversy. On other hand, cogito is the theorem is a statement that has to be proven. 

Besides, Descartes says that nothing else than thinking counts as the proof of the soul as its essence is a thought. He probably considers cogito as ego or a soul, as these things are similar here, because thinking is the only activity that makes our existence possible. In other words, “I think, therefore I am”.

However, Descartes’ contemporaries, Hobbies and Gassendi argue that one exists if walks or even one exists if breathes. Both are quite as valid as the original where existence is possible due to thinking. Nevertheless, Descartes does not agree with those philosophers. He says he is certain only about one concept, a thought. Walking and breathing being also so important for humans are impossible without our awareness. If one stops thinking about things to do, the existence as a human being stops too. Thus, people become machines as the animals, because only our cogito is capable of constituting a soul. Therefore, thinking is primary and the only thing that defines our ego or soul. Besides, many people are unable to walk. There are also many other human beings who cannot breathe on their own. According to ideas of Hobbies and Gassendi, people with such defects do not exist. However, all it is not true, because these people are able to do all other things that able-bodied ones perform. On the other hand, if a person cannot think reasonably, he or she is considered an  incapable, so a person losses the possibility to make own decisions according to the modern laws. Therefore, only cogito means exist.

Another issue to be mentioned is our ability to walk, breathe, and do anything at all without thinking. Firstly, specialists say that people do not have to think about breathing because the particular part of a brain is responsible for this function. Therefore, this process is beyond the will. On the other hand, the quality of the thinking processes depends on the quality of breathing. For example, a student needs to do his or her homework in a room with fresh air. Therefore, one will complete the assignments faster and make fewer mistakes.  Moreover, the lack of oxygen even for a short period of time may lead to person’s death or mental disorders. Therefore, breathing and thinking are both highly important for a human being.

The relations between walking, breathing, and thinking can be actual for various groups of people. Firstly, doctors and their patients can apply this knowledge. For example, there many patients who can live only with help of machines. In such cases, specialists do different researches and analyses. If tests demonstrate the low activity of a brain, patients’ relatives usually have a right to stop functioning of the life supporting machines. Moreover, even if a heart is in a good condition, the death of a brain will stop the person’s existence. Secondly, relations between thinking and other actions can be interesting to those people who face such problems as loosing ability to walk, speak etc. They might think that it will become impossible for them to survive in the modern society. Therefore, knowing that ability to think has the biggest importance can save people’s lives or at least protect them from depression.

To sum up, Descartes says, “I think, therefore I exist”. Saying so, he means that I exists only when one thinks about something, questions different actions etc. Only cogito distinguishes humans from other species. Thinking has no analogy with walking and breathing, because thinking is primary. The lack of cogito transforms us into animals or machines. However, Descartes mentions one statement that cannot be questioned. He calls it the metaphysical certainty. According to the philosopher, people should not question the God’s existence. The knowledge about the mind/body dualism can be interesting to various people, such as doctors, those who struggle with different disabilities, and their relatives. The question they may ask themselves is whether or not they are able to live without abilities that ordinary people possess. On the other hand, doctors also may ask themselves what measures to take with disabled patients. However, some people do not agree with Descartes’ theory about the leading role of cogito. For instance, his contemporaries Hobbies and Gassendi claim walking and breathing to be rather important. Nevertheless, Descartes proves that, indeed, people exist only if they think.

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