In his philosophical arguments, Rene Descartes aims to differentiate facts and beliefs as sources of knowledge among humans. Since facts and beliefs are hardly different, Descartes employs the concepts of skepticism, the evil demon, and God in resolving his doubts about reality and illusion. In the concept of skepticism, Descartes asserts that the reality of things lies in the fact that humans doubt their existence.
Regarding the evil demon, Descartes holds that humans are unable to perceive reality because “a deceitful and all-powerful intelligence” has programmed them to perceive mere beliefs as reality (Moore and Bruder 102). In the concept of God, Descartes asserts that God does not deceive and the act of doubting the existence of God proves his existence in the universe.
According to Thomas Hobbes, all objects form material because they are in a state of continuous change. In this case, Hobbes asserts that feelings, ideas, and thoughts comprise material that is in constant motion while transitioning from one state to another. Hobbes states that feelings, ideas, and thoughts fall into two categories, namely good and bad objects (Moore and Bruder 107). Pain and hatred are bad objects, while pleasure and desire are good objects. Thus, Hobbes argues that decisions that people make in their lives emanate from internal drives, which are dependent on good or bad objects.
As the basis of the representative realism theory, John Locke holds that ideas that humans uphold emanate from experiences in their lives. Hence, basing on experiences, humans perceive objects according to the reflections that they have in their minds.
For example, properties of an object such as color, size, and shape relate to other objects already seen, and thus, representation aspect of the theory becomes evident. Locke argues that the external attributes of any form of object usually represent the perceptions of the mind (Moore and Bruder 115). Hence, Locke’s theory emphasizes that humans indirectly perceive objectives in the universe through representation with known objects.
Benedictus De Spinoza views God as everything in the universe because he is a substance rather than a religious being. Unlike Descartes, who views thoughts and extension as two unique properties of different substances that represent mind and matter respectively, Spinoza views them as properties of the same substance. Spinoza holds that God is everything in the universe as represented by substance in which extension and thought are the two attributes (Moore and Bruder 110). In this view, Spinoza does not regard the belief in the existence of religious gods because everything in the universe represents God.
According to Spinoza, free will is an illusion rather than a reality because occurrences in nature are subject to previous occurrences. In his argument, Spinoza argues that events are natural outcomes that influence state of substances. Since the laws of physics determine the state of substances in nature, Spinoza explains that they direct the occurrence of events and state of bodies according to previous occurrences (Moore and Bruder 111). Therefore, as Spinoza regard substance having both the mental and the material attributes, they determine the free will of bodies in nature.
According to Anne Conway, creatures comprise of substances, which fall in physical and mental realms. In elucidating the concept of monism, Conway asserts that all creatures have both mental and physical substances, which vary from one creature to another, depending on the will of the creator (Moore and Bruder 108). The individualism aspect of creatures emanates from the extent of physical and mental materials that they contain the creative power. Moreover, Conway holds that although substances vary from one body to another, they are reducible to small substances, which are irreducible.
Occasionalism version of epiphenomenalism describes the relationship between the mind and the body with God as the mediator. According to Moore and Bruder, followers of Descartes argue that God is a divine coordinator of mental events and physical events (105). Hence, when thoughts emerge in the mind, God translates them into physical actions that the body performs. Comparatively, parallelism version of epiphenomenalism also elucidates the relationship between mind and body as representatives of mental and physical substances respectively. Fundamentally, mental and physical events are parallel in that the occurrence of one is dependent on the other. As an act originates from the mind, the body coincidentally does what the mind dictates.
Olivia Sabuco holds that the body and the soul connect each other in the brain. According to her argument, the state of the brain determines the nature of the connection that exists between the mind and the soul. Sabuco likens the soul to God and asserts that it controls actions that the mind and the body undertake (Moore and Bruder 104). A human is a microcosm in that soul controls all the activities that are within it. Hence, since soul and brain connect each other, Sabuco affirms that there is an intimate connection of material and immaterial substances in nature.
George Berkeley asserts that the existence of sensible things is subject to the perception of the mind. This assertion implies that objects cannot exist unless the mind perceives their existence in nature. Berkeley states that the existence of sensible things is not subject to the human mind, but it is subject to the perceiving mind of God. Thus, in his explanation, Berkeley holds that an object exists because it is in the perceiving mind of God even though no human is able to perceive its existence in the universe (Moore and Bruder 118). Ultimately, Berkeley asserts that the existence of sensible things is subject to the God’s mind because he is omniscient.
Liebniz came up with the metaphysical concept of monads, which describes an activity as a compound that contains monads, nonphysical units that determine reality of objects. In this view, Liebniz views that monads are reality elements that emanate from the nonphysical components of activity. Moore and Bruder argue that monads are the definitive elements of reality that are indivisible and irreducible (112). Since monads are indivisible units, they exist as units of force in both physical and non-physical world. In nature, the indivisibility of monads exists because they represent units of force.
Concerning the induction, David Hume argues that it conforms to the principle of uniformity that guides human perception. In this view, Hume argues against induction and the principle of uniformity because they influence the perception of reality. David Hume asserts that the perception of something is dependent on the point of view of the perceiver. To describe how perception is subjective and based on experiences, Hume uses the concept of cause and effect in elucidating how individuals apply past and present experiences in perceiving objects and events (Moore and Bruder 134). Thus, Hume argues against cause and effect form of perception because it is mere supposition.
Immanuel Kant states that noumena are things that exist exterior to the human experience. Noumena are not the components of human experience because they do not determine the acquisition of knowledge. Kant states that noumenal things reside outside the sphere of experience and are beyond human knowledge (Moore and Bruder). Comparatively, phenomena are things that fall within the sphere of human experience, and thus, form the basis of human knowledge. The phenomenal things must have cause and effect relationships so that humans can derive knowledge from them.
Hegel argues that phenomenal things differ from noumenal things because humans are conscious objects. In opposition to the noumenal argument, Hegel asserts that the conscious ability of humans makes them to use immaterial objects, which are exterior to the material objects of experience (Moore and Bruder 138). Therefore, Hegel holds that humans have the capacity to perceive material and immaterial things in the universe and gain experience because they are conscious beings.
According to Schopenhauer, the idea of pessimism originates from the beliefs that humans hold about life. Schopenhauer states that humans are irrational in life because they have unquenchable desire and blind will that drive them to perform irrational activities (Moore and Bruder 494). The quest for knowledge among diverse beliefs complicates the perception of reality. Hence, Schopenhauer recommends that humans can overcome pessimism if only they can control their unquenchable desires and blind will.
Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, and Ann Conway are philosophers, who have a reasonable view of metaphysics. Rene Descartes is a great proponent of dualism, a philosophical concept that recognizes the existence of the mind and the body. Thomas Hobbes dwells on the concept of materialism because he recognizes that objects exist in a continuum of change. Ann Conway is also a great philosopher, who ascribes to the concept of dualism as fronted by Rene Descartes.
Moore, Brooke, and Kenneth Bruder. Philosophy: The Power of Ideas. California: McGraw-Hill, 2011. Print.