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Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy and Discourse on the Method ultimately desires to achieve deep understanding about the nature of everything including God the physical world and himself Indeed it is only with a clear and distinct knowledge of such things that he can then begin to understand his true reality Through images such as a block of melting wax Descartes proves the nature of any material thing is extended Descartes denies the classical thought of the necessity of formal causality to substantiate his ultimate mathematical physics In addition he rejects the classical notion of formal causality being the structural focus by which all things are able to achieve fully their ends and leads us to a new understanding of freedom as a thing that can choose its own end through the mastery of nature To accomplish this Descartes considers a physical piece of wax as it is brought close to a flame causing it to melt At this point the piece of wax has a honey flavor and it has the sent of flowers It has a color and a distinct shape and size Descartes describes in detail the physical qualities that can be observed of this piece of wax He then puts it next to a fire which melts the wax and in turn changes its contingent qualities The original shape disappears and becomes a hot liquid that you can hardly touch It looks tastes smells feels and sounds completely different from the original piece of wax Each of the sensory qualities have changed or been transformed yet the same piece of wax remains After you remove everything that does not belong to the wax it is precisely something extended flexible and mutable If you ignore the senses the wax is still wax but if you focus on the accidental qualities the two pieces of wax ie melted and unmelted have nothing in common Descartes is trying to prove that what
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