Cogito in Descartes’s Meditations-mental and material substance?

Explain the role of the Cogito in Descartes’s Meditations. What are the differences between mental and material substance?

Cogito in Descartes’s Meditations-mental and material substance?

Explain the role of the Cogito in Descartes’s Meditations and how this leads him to conclude that mind is fundamentally a different substance than the body.

What are the differences between mental and material substance?

Why does he think mind (rather than body) is the more essential substance in human beings?

What are some of the main problems with his approach?

Without doubt it is not possible to understand Descartes‘ metaphysics without some knowledge of his physics. Remember that the aim of this metaphysics is to offer a secure foundation to Descartes’ own mechanistic science of nature. He believed was a far superior science than the Aristotelian view of the universe. In a very simple way, Aristotelian metaphysics views each thing as an individual substance, and to understand a thing is therefore to be able grasp its individual essence.

More on material substance?

To understand a horse is therefore to be able to understand what it means for x to be a horse, to understand the individual substance ‘horse’. The 17th century mechanistic view of nature is a complete rejection of individual substances as the basis of scientific explanation. Horses, did not exist, but that we needed, in order for it to be truly scientific.An explanation at a ‘deeper’ level. Here the inspiration is not Aristotle, but the classical Greek atomist like Democritus, Leucippius and Epicurus.

We understand a thing not by describing what that thing is. By analysing the number, shape and motion of the atoms that make it up. Atoms are common to all things, and not just to one individual substance. The world is therefore ‘nothing but matter in motion’.  Thus Descartes can write in the Principles of Philosophy that all the phenomenon of nature can be explained by the ‘the shape size, position and motion of particles of matter.’