Free «Philosophy» Essay Sample

1) Thomas Hobbes and George Berkeley on Substance

According to Thomas Hobbes, a substance must be corporeal. Therefore, to Hobbes, all substances including God were corporeal (material). It is against this backdrop that he maintained that the universe existed but only through human definition, given that humans can only perceive and experience the corporeal. On the other hand, Berkeley takes a diametrically opposed stab, postulating that all things that surround human beings are only their ideas, and that sensible things do not have any other existence that is distinct from the sense being perceived by humans.

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2) Defining Dualism, Materialism and Idealism

In dualism, there are only two main substances: the body and the mind. On the other hand, materialism emphasizes on the existence of only one substance which is matter. While materialism and dualism are similar in a way by the virtue of agreeing on the importance of matter, idealism on the other hand is totally different in that it maintains that there is only one substance- the mind.

3) Descartes' dream conjecture or his evil demon conjecture

According to Descartes, it is impossible to prove whether an experience is a dream or not. As for the demon conjecture, Descartes makes proposition that it is possible for people to be under the spell of a demon who in turn is feeding them with brain stimulation which may make these people think they are experiencing things, while in real fact; they are merely brains in vats.  

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4) Descartes and thinking that does not involve the "I" that does the thinking

To Descartes, the "I" is not ancillary to the strict knowledge of the "I". The "I" does not also depend on things whose existence are not yet known when thinking.

5) Thinking and human beings being merely matter

By thinking, human beings indeed show that they are not merely matter. Matter cannot think on its own and in this respect, only acts in obedience to the law of nature. On the other hand, human beings are able to reason and carry out an act as a result of the reasoning carried out.

6) The compatibility of material and the immaterial in the body and the mind

The compatibility of the material and the immaterial in the body and the mind in the philosophy of the mind is known as dualism. It has roots in the belief that the mind is a nonphysical substance while the brain as the organ of intelligence was material.

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7) Parallelism

In parallelism, mental and physical events are totally and perfectly coordinated by God. This is to the effect that whenever an individual makes a decision towards a certain action, his body acts in the same manner, but in the absence of a direct cause and effect relation between the body and the mind.

8) Hobbes' idea on mental activity reducing to matter in motion

By this, Hobbes observes that since mental activities comprise emotions and thoughts, the emotions and thoughts belong to the realm of the mind whose location cannot be physically pinpointed.

9) Spinoza and the relationship between the mind and the body

To Spinoza, a living person is a single unit whose substances have been modified so that they can be conceived as extensions or even thoughts. The body to this effect is the unit of substance conceived as extension while the mind is indeed the selfsame iota of substance conceived as thought.

10) Ann Conway's concept of time

To Conway, it is in time where matter and space are locatable. Conway postulates that space and timer influence each other and are both divisible.

11) Berkeley and sensible objects existing only in the mind

Berkeley maintained that there is no such thing as matter and that instead; all the objects perceived in the world exist simply as collections of ideas that are extant in the humans' minds. This is to the effect that there can be no substance in the absence of the mind.

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