René Descartes was a French philosopher who is well-known and whose thoughts and ideas are studied today. Some of René Descartes’ ideas are divisive. There are several different theories considered by René Descartes. The wax argument, on the other hand, is one of the most contentious and discussed topics in his work.
When it comes to comprehending the essence of Descartes’s wax argument and its significance, it’s important to think about how he approaches things. Descartes has concluded that in order to evaluate an issue, one must forget about its characteristics at the moment and solely rely on his/her deduction. Feelings and ideas about the elements prevent a person from assessing an issue objectively. In addition, emotions are more prevalent in this case. As a result, to form an unbiased viewpoint on a problem.
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The following procedure, which was employed by Descartes, may be looked at. Descartes took a piece of wax and recorded its most important characteristics. After considering the form, texture, size, color, odor, and other elements of the wax, Descartes formed a particular point of view about it; nevertheless, when he melted it another substance emerged.
It’s worth mentioning that this melted chunk of wax was the same one. However, its shape, texture, size, color, and fragrance varied. This is Descartes’ main argument for the wax case. To measure anything (in this case, wax), Descartes recommends staying with one’s experiences, sentiments , and emotions; deductive reasoning should be used to analyze the issue.
The next information to consider follows the logic employed by Descartes in drawing his inference: he solely considered object qualities while making judgments about the thing’s features. The piece of wax has lost all of its initial conditions once it has been melted. It is still wax, however. As a result, when people think about wax, they should not rely on their sense perceptions. Wax is referred to as something broader than a small box like space by Descartes.
A third consideration is the potential for wax to come through many changes that a person may not be aware of. It is true, though, that the wax persists. As a result, people’s impressions of the wax are determined by their own insight. Finally, when individuals claim to “see” the wax, they typically make judgments based on their own understanding (Lacewing 235).
This implies that the conclusion Descartes reaches, as we previously said, is that “when we perceive an object such as wax, there is always an act of judgment in our perception. I do not see the piece of wax – I infer it to be there from the data given by my senses” (in Morton 74). As a result, such consideration is known as a wax argument. When individuals are asked to consider anything, they should try their best to avoid seeing it and thinking clearly about its fundamental features.
Descartes’s wax argument has three primary aims. The wax argument is “a nativist’s argument for rationality,” “the first rough sketch of Descartes’ thought and theory on the nature of bodily and non-corporeal substance,” and “an assertion that, in contradiction to common sense, the mind is better understood than the body” (Graziano 1).
The following are some of the purposes we use when determining the metaphysical categories in which wax arguments are utilized, modal properties, numerical identity, and substance-things. When thinking about an object’s characteristics, each thing should have at least one attribute.
People are unable to recognize each property an object might have under various circumstances. However, having a basic understanding of an item aids him or her in recognizing it under varied conditions. The numerical identification of things refers to the many ways of identifying items, both numerically and qualitatively. Finally, substance-things category refers to the features of an object that may be a combination of present and anticipated properties (Graziano 3).
Descartes employs the wax argumentation in reference to God as a Created Being. This idea is used by a philosopher to illustrate that no matter how futile it may appear, we know that God exists. The perception of God is reduced to a minimum, with just the deduction being taken into account. Descartes’ and his philosophy’s central theme is this trust in what are merely uncertain things.
The philosopher in this example is attempting to show that it is feasible to believe in God without having any visual evidence, as we do when considering wax. This is one of the key features of the wax argument. It teaches people not to see things but rather to think about them using their own logic. Returning to the wax argument, the following information should be included. A philosopher strives to illustrate that a personal vision of wax is more significant than a physical object seen. The primary goal of wax debate is personal consideration.
People should be able to grasp the core issue of a problem, even if it is in an intermediate state. Each person applies his or her expertise on personal knowledge of items and their qualities to answer the question. It’s critical to notice the wax when it’s melted, since this may help you remember what it was supposed to look like.
Considering the Descartes’s wax argument’s primary idea and its application in practice, the following statement should be referred to as “I now know that even bodies are not strictly perceived by the senses or imagination but only by the intellect, and that this perception does not arise from their being touched or seen but from their being understood,” (Descartes 22). We may think of an object’s key features even if we have never seen it before, owing to the fact that the human mind is so active. The human brain is one-of-a-kind.
People are able to comprehend items as they appear and consider them in their basic form. When dealing with various things, people are capable of determining the most important features for each object. The fundamental idea of the wax argument is that individuals generally use their intellect when treating an item and defining its characteristics, with only one exception: They may attempt to determine the circumstances that have influenced it by referring to perception.
The wax objection’s goal is to give a clear and precise grasp on “I,” which is the mind, and corporeal things, which are “imagined by the senses themselves to be much more clearly known than this mysterious ‘I,’ which does not fall within the faculty of imagination” (66). Descartes’ demonstrates that instead of being perceived via our eyes or imaginations, physical objects are perceived solely through our intellect.
In this debate, you will discover reason to question Descartes’ analysis of the wax and his philosophical method. For recognition of a particular physical thing, Descartes conducts a meticulous examination. Despite this issue, we are confident that it is the same piece of wax that we see, touch, or imagine. It is not our sentiments or imagination that gives us the notion. If we had assessed these capabilities and the wax was deformed, we would not be able to agree that it is the same wax.
Wax has no self-identity because it is imagined, according to this research. The real nature of wax is not revealed by the imagination; rather, this problem indicates that only perception, with its powers of concept and judgment, fulfills the unifying function that constitutes a wax piece’s self-identity: “our view of the wax is neither seeing nor touching nor imaginings but solely the intellect” (68).
The identity of the matter is given by our comprehension of the wax, which has been transported via our senses and imagination. This study confirms Descartes’s idea that “what we thought we had seen with our eyes, we actually grasped solely with the faculty of judgment, which is in our mind” (68). As a result, any sense of the body can be regarded as an internal inspection of our mind rather than an external examination. Descartes responds that our knowledge of the wax is based only on the thoughts we form in our minds. This raises the question of how to agree on the identity of the wax, and whether everyone’s perception of their body may be different.
The wax argument serves to refine our knowledge of ourselves, or the mind, while corporeal things are intended to provide a clear and distinct understanding of “I”, which is the intellect. “I”, Descartes suggests in this context, refers not to an invisible entity that does not fall within the realm of imagination but rather to material objects with images framed by thought and sensed much more clearly than this mysterious ‘I’ that does not belong to the realm of imagination (66). Descartes demonstrates that physical beings are perceived solely through our intellect.
In this debate, you will discover that Descartes’ examination of the wax and his method of philosophical reasoning are open to question. Descartes makes a careful study of what it takes to recognize a certain physical thing, such as wax. He demonstrates how quickly our senses aid in the formation of our perception of the body by first describing the wax in terms of “everything necessary for a body to be recognized as precisely as possible” (67).
Even if qualities are changed or eliminated, we recognize the altered form of wax as the same piece of wax. This validates Descartes’s statement that “wax itself never really is the sweetness of the honey, nor the fragrance of the flowers, nor the whiteness, nor the shape” (67), and all we know for sure about wax is that it is “extended, flexible, and changeable” (67). It forces us to accept that it is difficult to comprehend the real nature of wax, and that its identity is indistinguishable from other products with similar characteristics. Descartes’ argument continues by stating that the nature of a human mind is better understood than the body’s (65).
I have some issues with the structure of Descartes’s argument because he created this knowledge of the human mind with the assumption that a wax replica already existed. Because he has not proved the existence of matter, there would be no wax for discussion. He has no authority to decide on the precise nature of the mind; however, any notion defined in connection to matter should be considered unresolved now.
Descartes also claims that the nature of the wax can only be guessed at. Because our senses are deceptive, the argument constructed on this fallible faculty should also be suspect. While this statement is true, the wax argument should not be accepted as a secure foundation on which certainty and clarity of knowledge may be built.
From the preceding arguments, it is clear that there is an underlying assumption that wax already exists. However, since his doubt should follow this line of inquiry, he does not persuade us to think of the human mind as distinct from the body without acknowledging anything external to the mind.
In addition, I’m going to say that it’s impossible to conceive of the mind as a distinct entity unless there is already consciousness of an external body from which it is different. In conclusion, this distinction cannot be made without first acknowledging the existence of each being: just as much as the wax differs from the mind, so does the mind differ from the wax. Because our senses are unable to supply us with any knowledge about the body, therefore our understanding of the wax is uncertain.
The example of Descartes’ wax is about the massive disparity that a lump of wax may have; we perceive it as one thing when, in reality, it might be viewed as much more. Descartes uses an everyday piece of wax as an argument for taking things into account and thinking carefully. He thinks that in order to make an impartial evaluation of the wax, one’s perspective and emotions must be set aside.
As a result, Descartes takes this lump of wax and describes its immediate major qualities, taking into account the wax’s texture, size, form, color, odor, and all other characteristics shown by the wax. After describing the wax, Descartes was able to form a certain idea of what it was; but as he melted it, another substance gave light. It is worth emphasizing that Descartes’ wax-melting procedure was designed to present the distinct shape, size, texture, color and odor of a new piece of wax.
Although the wax looked to be identical from the outside, it had undergone a transformation, giving it its inscrutable appearance. The wax was melted, therefore it lost all of its original properties, but the wax remains to be the same piece of wax; this attests to how when someone thinks about a lump of wax, they are not utilizing their senses.
The entire passage emphasizes how Descartes is utilizing the lump of wax to refer to something much bigger, more extensive, and deeper than space itself. The bit of wax went through several metamorphoses, yet most people are probably aware that such transformations occurred or are taking place.
Descartes maintains that his “grasp” of the wax piece is not sensory, but rather it is “the consequence of a purely mental inspection,” because he makes the more complex conclusion that in order to consider an object we must see it as much more than simply a tangible thing. He regarded the wax as something more than what his senses could perceive and took every fissure of the basic little lump. At first, his senses revealed one thing to him, but as he began to burn the wax piece, he perceived something totally different, so he grasped the notion of wax rather than relying only on the impressions his senses supplied.
Ignoring what your senses tell you is a mistake because Descartes understands that items are alterable, regardless of what your senses may suggest. We become conscious of such things as a result of our knowledge that we can grasp them. We know our minds better than any thing else we encounter. The example of the wax illustrates to Descartes that the mind can conquer emotions and judgement while also falsely believing us to think something that isn’t true.
“When we see a thing like the wax piece, there is an act of judgment in our perception,” says Karim, who was formerly a blindfolded participant. “I do not see the item; I infer that it is there from the appearance provided by my senses.” As a result, when someone considers an object, they are overly focused on their own perception of said object, considering it to be nothing more than a thing that describes/discusses its basic features.
Although we are interpreting the wax’s transformation through our senses, it actually changes physically. According to Descartes, we perceive the changes; we’re supposed to believe that the wax is somehow a completely different piece when, in fact, it was evolving before our eyes. The lump of wax is linked to other sections in the Meditation, including when Descartes employs the wax argument to consider God’s existence as a created thing. Although we have never seen God, it doesn’t matter because we are able to realize that he exists completely.
If we apply the problem of wax to our consideration of God, we may attempt to show that while having no visual evidence of any kind, we have faith in God. When it comes to the wax argumentation, Descartes thinks that visualizing is essential for teaching people not just to see an item but also to consider it thoroughly.
In the second meditation, Descartes continues his quest for a single primary concern: he cannot be sure of anything. He has arrived at the conclusion that understanding the physical world and how it arises from judgment and reasoning rather than relying solely on what appears to be true through perception of the senses and use of the imagination is more useful. I believe, therefore, that things in the external world’s real nature are not entirely exposed. How can I assure myself that what I think is correct?
Descartes analogizes wax to explain how we perceive things and their features, and he likens it to wax because of its capacity to swiftly alter these characteristics. This experience has also forced me to think critically and provided me with an opportunity to learn. What is real in life, if everything is based on what we perceive? What is the truth? I agree with Descartes since he addresses the wax argument, which aims to dissolve the problem of ideas generated by the imagination. When wax solidifies in its harden form, it has certain qualities such as hardness and yellowish-olive. When the wax melts, it becomes a liquid that has a different hue.
Is it safe to trust our senses? From my classroom discussions, I discovered that this was not simply a piece of wax; rather, it originated from prior knowledge. Because my truth has guided me on my route of knowledge and learning, I discover that my senses are reliable sources of information. He argues that our mind is capable of understanding things with our senses since they provide us information concerning the looks of things, but only by essence can we understand those things.
Descartes must first confront the question of God’s existence. He does so because God can’t be understood using the senses. It may be as easy as declining a job in a city with a poor reputation or prejudging someone new I’ve met by getting to know them first. Through Descartes’s second meditation, I learned that my intellect and how much easier and certain of my own knowledge rather than simply based on foundations.
What does this have to do with us today? I think it’s critical to how we live and interact with the rest of the world, as well as our own bodies. Even though Descartes doubts his senses in his reflections, he performs this because he was attempting to gain a new perception in his mind by changing his thinking style. Descartes claims that the greatest knowledge comes from the use of one’s mind rather than one’s senses.
While it is true that I see where he’s coming from in his quest for a fresh perspective on things, but to come to the conclusion that all ideas originating from the five senses are untrustworthy makes little sense. How can I make judgments without using my senses? What can I really trust when I don’t have all of the knowledge that I currently possess? Because I would not have access to all of the information that I presently possess if it were not for use of my own senses, this does not sit well with me.