Descartes Examination of a Thinking SoulPaper Rating: Word Count: 1294 Approx Pages: 5
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