Volume 62, Issue 4, 2014
Descartes and the Problem of Immortality of the Human Soul
Descartes argued, starting from his famous thesis “I think, therefore I am” which he thought to be the only unquestionable proposition, that he succeeded in proving that there are only two substances—material and spiritual—which are entirely distinct, separate, and autonomous in their actions. From the time he wrote his Meditations on First Philosophy he was deeply convinced that he was also able to prove the immortality of the human soul by virtue of the claim of its substantial distinctness. However, when writing his Meditations, and especially as a result of the discussions with his opponents he became convinced that on the ground of his philosophy such a proof was simply impossible. This article presents Descartes’ way of thinking, and the process of replacing the metaphysical point of view with the ethical point of view.