Descartes Meditations: Mediation II:
1. Explain Descartes’metaphor of a “deep whirlpool” in the opening passage of this meditation.
• He means that he is confused and to a certain extent lost
• He feels he’s been tossed around and can neither touch bottom with his feet, or swim up
to the top
• Can’t find certainty to set aside this worry or forget about this worry
o Could this without drama but wants you to feel what he feels
2. What assertion does Descartes think is “necessarily true every time I utter it”?
• The assertion Descartes makes is “I am, I exist”
• He believes that he should never be deceived to believe he is nothing so long as he thinks
that he is something
• Even if all contents of thought are false, then there is still this mind that is being deceived
o so there is a mind there
• Cogito ergo sum – I think therefore I am
o Still a me there being deceived, by me means a thinking thing
o This only works in the first person, because cannot doubt yourself thinks
3. Why does Descartes suggest that the body seems to be easier to know than the soul (p.18-
• He sees the soul as a rarified I-know-not-what, like a wind, or fire, or ether.
o Sensing and thinking various things, taking in food, all attributed to the soul
• When it came to the body he was not in doubt, thought he knew its nature
o Understood all that is capable of being bounded by shape, enclosed in space, and
filling up space in such a way to exclude another body from it, of being perceived
by touch, sight, taste,