Descartes’ Second Meditation In Meditation two, Descartes embarks on his journey of truth. It discusses how a body can perceive things, such as objects. Attempting to affirm the idea that God must exist as a fabricator for his ideas, he stumbles on his first validity: the notion that he exists. He ascertains that if he can both persuade himself of something, and likewise be deceived of something, then surely he must exist. This self-validating statement is known as the Cogito Argument.
Simply put, it implies that whatever thinks must exist. Having established this, Descartes asks himself: What is this “I” which “necessarily exists”? Descartes now begins to explore his inner consciousness to find the essence of his being. He disputes that he is a “rational animal” for this idea is difficult to understand. He scrutinizes whether perhaps he is a body infused with a soul but this idea is dismissed since he cannot be certain of concepts that are of the material world. Eventually he focuses on the act of thinking and from this he posits: “I am a thing that thinks.” A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, and that also imagines and senses.
To prove that perception on the part of the mind is more real than that of the senses Descartes asks us to consider a piece of wax. Fresh from the comb the qualities we attribute to the wax are those derived from the senses. Melted, the qualities that we attribute to the wax are altered and can only be known to the intellect. Descartes demonstrates how the information from the senses gives us only the observable, it is the mind that allows us to understand. The results of the second meditation are considerable, doubt has both proven the certainty of Descartes existence and that his essence is the mind.