Descartes Examination of a Thinking Soul

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Descartes' Examination of a Thinking Soul

In order to truly understand the nature of the human mind as asked in the course syllabus one must be able to define a thinking individual, something that Descartes attempts and succeeds in achieving. In his Letter to the Marquess of Newcastle, Descartes rejects others' belief that animals have reasoning or thoughts and devices a sort of test based on a defining characteristic of a thinking mind that he believes can successfully separate the thinking from the non-thinking. Descartes thoroughly seeks for a distinguishing feature that separates an animal mind from a human mind and comes to the conclusion that an "external action , more specifically the capacity for linguistic activity is the difference.

According to Descartes, defining a thinking creature is ultimately decided by the "external action  of linguistic capability; however, Descartes makes certain that actions that are inane, for example, are not included. In this passage, Descartes' idea of "external actions  is not simply the ability to eat, talk or walk (explained further later) but rather a more complex action that incurs more complex thoughts: the capacity for linguistic

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