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How Nietzsche Outwits Descartes PAPER 2 How Nietzsche Outwits Descartes Friedrich Nietzsche is not only one of the most influential philosophers the world has seen but he is also one of the most controversial He has influenced twentieth century thought more than almost any other thinker In his numerous works Nietzsche constantly criticizes and restructures the strongly held philosophical and religious beliefs of his time One such principle that he refutes belongs to his predecessor Rene Descartes and concerns the apparent distinction and significance of the human mind over the body Descartes explains this elaborate theory in his Meditations on First Philosophy claiming that the mind the conscious is the lone essential part of the human essence On the other hand Nietzsche expresses in his work On the Genealogy of Morality his beliefs that the body the unconscious is key to the human essence One may find it difficult to decide between these two ideas for both philosophers pose good arguments on the contradicting sides of this famous dilemma However by analyzing them further I realize that the qualities of their arguments are only as good as the foundations that they are based upon one cannot have an understanding of the mind or the body without first having knowledge of the essence of human existence With this in mind I will prove that the body is superior to the mind by showing that the center for Nietzsches ideas the human essence is more valid than that of Descartes Descartes idea of the human essence is based solely on his formed concept of radical doubt He believes the essence of human existence to be simply a thinking thing 1 We must now analyze how he arrived at this conclusion Descartes is famous for radical doubt a concept that questions everything and assumes nothing to be true unless it can be proved so with his idea of clear and distinct perception From this he states that
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