The idea that would be employed in this context is a car. I believe the idea-car is a real thing because it exists in a similar form as the actual car. In this regard, it should be appreciated that the idea car is existent in intellect rather than in actual form. From the perspective of the mind, it has similar features like those of an actual car. In particular, it has four wheels and other common features that the idea car has. Descartes indicates that the just like the thinking process, the mode of existence of reality is in the ‘in’ form (69). Thus just like the car exists formally in the garage, it may exist in an objective manner in the intellect provided it is being thought about by an individual. In his analysis, Descartes shows that the difference between the idea and an actual object stems from the thought process of the individuals. Thus it is argued that an idea is a thing because of the fact that it has a similar form like that of an object.
In addition, my idea car is a real car because of the fact that just like the actual car, it is conceived in my mind. In particular, it can be considered to be a product of the thinking process or an offspring of the intellect. Notably, the actual car is also a complete product of the thought process as it tends to have all the desirable features of the owner.
The difference between the idea car and an actual car is the fact that the actual car has distinct characteristics. In particular, it has a definite color and model. However, the idea car’s features are indefinite. At this juncture, Descartes indicates that features of an object existing in the mind are susceptible to constant alteration and modification (84). In other words, its features keep changing from one mode to another and tend to reflect the desires of the person thinking about the same. For example, the color of my idea car at this particular time is silver. However, I can not deny the fact that this is likely to change once I visit the show room. This is because of the recognition that the cars found in such scenarios tend to be more appealing and may influence my choice.
In addition, my decision regarding the color of my actual car might be influenced by information from secondary sources as well as from close friends and relatives. Comparatively, a real car has distinct characteristics and its color does not change within seconds. Even if the owner decides to change this, it requires some procedure, involvement of various stakeholders and may consume relatively more time than the former. With regard to the features, Descartes points out that the idea car differs from the actual car in the sense that its features are determined by the thought process (96). Notably, the actual car’s features are independent of the influence of the thought process. Further, it indicated that ideas tend to incorporate various aspects that may be invented by the conceiver. This is unlike in the case of reality where certain attributes that do not exist in the current world can not be associated with the objects.
In the case of my idea car, it is possible for me to invent and accord the same certain colors, smells and accessories that might not be existent in the actual world. However, this is impossible with the actual car as the current attributes are already defined. At this juncture, it is worth acknowledging that ideas are often sourced from within the conceiver, in the external environment of the conceiver and can also be invented by the same.
Further, my idea car differs fro the real car due to the fact that it is often still undergoing representation in the mind of the conceiver. In contrast the real car is often already represented in the mind. In other words, Descartes cites that it is usually already known to the conceiver of the same (113). The idea car which is in its formal form tends to do the representation for the actual car. In this consideration therefore, the status of the actual car can be considered to be more sophisticated than the real car. This makes it to be more desirable due to the fact that it does not require other process for complete conception.
Finally, it is posited that ideas differ from reality in the sense that the former are usually particularistic and singular and the latter complex. With regard to the idea of a car, it can be argued that an actual car can be perceived in terms of multiples. This is unlike the one in the intellect that is usually accorded a particular perception and therefore can only be analyzed singly. Irrespective of the inherent differences, it can be ascertained that my idea car is actually a real car because it has a similar form as the actual car in my mind.
Rene Descartes. Meditation on First Philosophy. Cambridge: University Press, 1996.