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Word Count: 339
It was in a state of wandering mind that the wax passage was conceived The wax passage itself is a simple piece of writing and a simple train of thought to follow The essence of the passage is that Descartes believes and attempts to convince the reader that the clear and distinct ideas one might have of objects external to ones body are not perceived through the senses but rather through the intellect the mind While examining a piece of wax one has certain ideas ideas initially thought to have come from the senses but all that can be ascertained through the senses can be proven to be false One can describe it using colors shape size and scent but this piece of wax can melt changing colors becoming liquid Does the same wax remain Obviously it does and the clear and distinct ideas of the wax remain as well yet all sensory perceptions of the wax have changed Descartes goes on to ask what it was in the wax that was distinctly grasped Characteristics used to describe the wax have changed but the wax remains In answer to this he suggests that perhaps the wax is not merely the sum of its sensory attributes Descartes argues that the continuity of the wax is established neither by sight nor touch nor imagination but by an act of the mind alone and if all attributes are stripped away what is left is the essence of the wax This essence can manifest itself to him in an infinite number of ways The wax can assume any shape size or smell and since Descartes assumes that he himself is incapable of imagining the wax in infinite ways the insight he has gained into the wax was not brought about by his faculty of imagination With the elimination of the senses and then the elimination of the imagination what is left must be the answer The clear and
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