Premium Essay

Dualism

In: Philosophy and Psychology

Submitted By mugishao
Words 271
Pages 2
Distinction
One of the deepest and most lasting legacies of Descartes’ philosophy is his thesis that mind and body are really distinct–a thesis now called “mind-body dualism.” He reaches this conclusion by arguing that the nature of the mind (that is, a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (that is, an extended, non-thinking thing), and therefore it is possible for one to exist without the other. This argument gives rise to the famous problem of mind-body causal interaction still debated today: how can the mind cause some of our bodily limbs to move (for example, raising one’s hand to ask a question), and how can the body’s sense organs cause sensations in the mind when their natures are completely different? This article examines these issues as well as Descartes’ own response to this problem through his brief remarks on how the mind is united with the body to form a human being. This will show how these issues arise because of a misconception about Descartes’ theory of mind-body union, and how the correct conception of their union avoids this version of the problem. The article begins with an examination of the term “real distinction” and of Descartes’ probable motivations for maintaining his dualist thesis.
Table of Contents 1. What is a Real Distinction? 2. Why a Real Distinction? 1. The Religious Motivation 2. The Scientific Motivation 3. The Real Distinction Argument 3. The First Version 4. The Second Version 4. The Mind-Body Problem 5. Descartes’ Response to the Mind-Body Problem 6. References and Further Reading 5. Primary…...

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Cartesian Dualism: the Mind/Body Problem as the Foundation for Modern Philosophy

...there is flora and there is fauna; there are things that we can modify and things that humans have no control over. One of the many ways to differentiate and classify everything and anything in the surrounding environment and, probably, one of the most universal ways, is to classify things as being either material or immaterial. It seems fairly easy to distinguish between the two. If we cannot touch, feel or see something, then it becomes the notion of the immaterial world. The rest belongs to the material things, which we can own, trade, purchase, possess, lose or give away. When Rene Descartes, one of the founders of the modern-day western philosophical science, laid the groundwork for his epistemological perspective called Cartesian Dualism, he was coming exactly from the same universal idea. The thoughts and hypotheses that Descartes tried so hard, throughout his lifetime’s work, to develop into axioms and prove to be fundamentally true, surprisingly remain highly debatable and are still largely in question. Philosophy is very much about the question of certainty. To a great extent, from the epistemological perspective, knowledge is certainty (Harris, 2009). Just as the case is with Plato, whose quest for certainty has driven his metaphysics to take it, as a prerequisite, that if something is known, then it cannot change (Frank et al., 2011), Descartes too attempted to deduce the formula that would be true for all cases. However, while for Plato, it was the Form that......

Words: 1704 - Pages: 7

Free Essay

Substance Dualism vs. Materialism

...Substance Dualism vs. Materialism At the center of the debate over human nature, the existence of free will, and the validity of science are two opposing viewpoints: materialism and dualism. Dualism is the belief that a person is made up of two kinds of substances: physical matter and above all else, an immaterial force known as the mind, or soul. Materialism refutes dualism, asserting that man and matter are inseparable, and that there is no mysterious, supernatural force directing our actions. Both viewpoints were derived in an attempt to place philosophy on firmer, more scientific ground. The arguments of Descartes and Hobbes for substance dualism and materialism, respectively, are representative of this debate. Although materialism and dualism have their own internal problems and flaws, I will argue that many of the objections that have been leveled against materialism can be met and that, on the whole, materialism is a much more plausible theory than dualism. The Greek philosopher Socrates believed that nothing could be certain without divine knowledge, which no man possesses. However, René Descartes, a 16th century French philosopher believed that some things could be determined to be certain as long as they were deduced through the proper methods. This method, known as the method of doubt, led Descartes to the foundational beliefs that became the basis for Substance Dualism. Simply put, Substance Dualism is the belief that there are two types of substances:...

Words: 1973 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay

Dualism Mind-Brain

...Social Sciences and Humanities prof. Coleridge Chris Final essay “Brain vs Mind” [pic] Alessandro Acquaviva E060478 INDEX The Mind-Brain Problem 3 Background of the problem 4 Evaluating the three proposed solutions 6 Weak Dualism 7 Strong Dualism 9 The relevance of Parapsychology 11 Conclusions 12 The Mind-Brain Problem The mind-brain problem raises the question as to whether the mind is no more than the idle side-effect of our brain processes or whether the mind can, in some degree, influence behaviour. Here we rehearse the arguments on both sides plus some recent attempts to eliminate mind altogether. However contentious, the philosophical problem, as distinct from the physiological problem, can be stated quite simply as follows: What, essentially, is the relationship between events in the brain and those private, subjective experiences that together constitute our inner mental life? We need not assume here that consciousness is synonymous with mind - consciousness may well be no more than just one aspect of mind - but, with respect to the problem at issue, it is the existence of consciousness that is critical. Stated thus, the problem admits of only three basic answers: 1) Events in the brain, operating in accordance with the laws of physics, determine completely both our behaviour and our subjective experiences. 2) Mental events may be elicited by events in the brain or they may, in turn, elicit brain events and so......

Words: 5362 - Pages: 22

Premium Essay

Against Dualisms: a Response to Henry Sullivan*

...Cervantes Society of America FORUM Against Dualisms: A Response to Henry Sullivan* HOWARD MANCING n a recent essay entitled “Don Quixote de la Mancha: Analyzable or Unanalyzable?” published in this journal, Henry W. Sullivan makes the case for the psychoanalysis of literary characters. While there is much to ponder in Sullivan's essay, there are two points, both involving dualisms, that I would like to discuss. In the first case, Sullivan argues insightfully and convincingly against an absolute distinction between how we know and think about fictional characters and how we know and think about real people. In the second case, however, Sullivan insists on an absolute (Cartesian) mind-body dualism as a cornerstone of psychoanalytic theory. I would like to repeat and extend Sullivan's argument in the first case, but refute it and deny its validity in the second. First dualism: Fact/Fiction Sullivan cites as representative of a certain widely-shared approach Maud Ellmann's insistence that there is an important distinction between a “human being made of flesh and character made of words” (5), a distinction that allows us to make one kind statement about the former but not the latter. Ellmann is not alone in making the real-life/fictional distinction a fundamental matter of ontology. We are all familiar with arguments like hers, having heard * For a response to this response, see “Don Quixote & the ‘Third Term’ as Solvent of Binary Dualisms: A Response to Howard......

Words: 7711 - Pages: 31

Premium Essay

Cartestian Dualism vs. the Identity Theory

...Cartesian Dualism vs. the Identity Theory Dualism is a view that attempts to explain the relationship between mind and matter. Aristotle and Plato have tackled their version on dualism. Cartesian means “pertaining to the thought of Descartes” according to Edward Feser, “Philosophy of Mind.” Cartesian Dualism originates from Rene Descartes whose version of dualism is well known and an accepted explanation of the mind and body being vastly different. Let’s go deeper in the thoughts of Descarte’s and the support to the validity of his view on dualism. According to Professor Edward Feser’s book “Philosophy of Mind” Descarte’s “dualism claims that there is a difference between the mind and the body. Basically the mind is different from the body. We need a body to sustain life, whereas Descarte’s view is that the mind is an immaterial object. The mind allows a person to think, hope, believe and even doubt. These exist only in the mind and not a physical object. They are not physical, but the body is. Cartesian dualism clearly separates the conscious (mind) as a separate non-material form. Now let’s look deeper into the physical aspects of the body and the physical aspect of the mind. Descarte’s view depicts the body and the mind as extremely different. The body is a materialistic object; it has height, width, has movement and takes up physical space. The body itself is full of chemicals, water, tissue, organs and a skeletal frame that makes the body a physical object. These...

Words: 1232 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Philosophers on Materialism and Dualism

...through an individual’s genetic code. Humans should not worry about the meaning of their lives and their place in the universe as they are the universe. Human thinking has gone awry as people have tried to find meanings to life. If people reject notions of an afterlife and a God and learnt to reason as scientists, then they would become better humans. Science can answer questions about the origin of life and provide evidence to support the answer, but religion can only depend on faith. The evolution of consciousness has removed the need for gene replication. There is a new replicator, human culture, which is known as a meme. It is through a contribution to human culture that the meme results in cultural survival within the individual. Dualism: Plato wrote in ‘The Republic’ that the soul belonged to a level of reality higher than the body. The soul is a substance and is immortal. For there is a perfect idea (form) of everything in existence. The true identity of someone lies within the soul, which pre-exists its present embodied form. The soul is immaterial and capable of knowing eternal truths beyond the world. The soul wants to travel into the realm of heavenly ideas and to understand them; the body wants to be involved in worldly matters to do with the senses. The soul tries to steer the mind to the spiritual realm. All knowledge is a recollection of things remembered from previous lives which are forgotten when we are reborn. We do not learn things in life; we only have......

Words: 980 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Life After Death - Dualism, Monism and Materialism

...just think that we should trust in God, the remaining 34% of us believe that our souls passes on to another world. These views can all be classed into the traditional divide used when discussing the soul and life after death. There is the Monist view – the idea that the body and the soul exists as a single unity, the souls existence is dependent on the body, belief in resurrection and reincarnation falls under this idea. The Materialist view is the idea that human beings are purely physical beings and does not consist of a body and a soul – belief in there being nothing after death falls under this category. The final view is Dualism – the idea that humans consist of two elements, the body and the soul – where the body is physical the soul is immaterial. The belief of a place after death falls under this view. The first idea we will explore is dualism. Plato famously claimed that the soul is ‘imprisoned’ by the body. He put forward the Allegory of the Chariot – where there is the charioteer (which represents the soul) and two horses (one representing the mind and the other the body). The soul attempts to control the two horses and directs them to work in harmony. This Plato claims is a virtue. There is evidence for the soul when the different aspects of the soul (reason, spirit and desire) are in conflict. Kenny uses the example of a child throwing a tantrum, here the child shows both spirit and desire but lacks reason, which Plato claims is evidence for the soul. Plato......

Words: 839 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

Philosophy of Mind

...Philosophy of mind * Dualism: Mind and body distinctly exist -Plato, Descartes * Substance dualism: the mind is an independently existing substance * Property dualism: the mind is a group of independent properties that emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance * Monism: mind and body are not ontologically distinct kinds of entities, i.e. independent substances. -Parmenides, Spinoza * Physicalist: only entities postulated by physical theory exist, and that mental processes will eventually be explained in terms of these entities as physical theory continues to evolve. * Behaviorism: dualism and physicalism both make categorical mistakes * Type identity theory: Type the tokenevery token instantiation of a single mental type corresponds to a physical token of a single physical type. * Anomalous monism: Token without typeType identity: the token-token correspondences can fall outside of the type-type correspondences. Davidson: mental events are identical with physical events, the mental is anomalous, and i.e. relationships between these mental events are not describable by strict physical laws. Supervenience vs realization * ------------------------------------------------- Functionalism: mental states (beliefs, desires, being in pain, tic.) are constituted solely by their functional role, i.e. they are causal relations to other mental states, sensory inputs and behavioral outputs. *...

Words: 625 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

The True Nature of Reality

...Paing Soe Professor James Rowe Philosophy 1500 14 May 2015 Prompt 1 The True Nature of Reality When it comes to describing the nature of our reality, philosophers have been in search of a system that truly and completely explains everything. It is noteworthy that numerous system have developed over the past few centuries. However, in this paper only four notable theories (dualism, materialism, idealism and transcendental idealism) will be explored. Each theories provide adequate explanation of reality but there are limitations and shortcomings when one contemplate carefully. The theories will be explored and critique by using the mind body problem, The Chinese room, the radical emergence theory. Moreover, one should consider which theory describes the nature of reality with least logical incoherencies. Substance Dualism is a theory that describes “mind and matter” as “two distinct things” (Nagel Thomas 206). Furthermore, substance dualism categorize matter as “physical or material substance” and mind or soul as “non-physical or immaterial substance” (Lacewing Michael) “Substance Dualism”). So, dualism is the proposal that human being as a living, thinking entity not only includes brain and physical matter but also a non-physical substance to account for the mind. The famous seventeenth century French philosopher René Descartes claimed that as “a subject of conscious thought and experience, he cannot consist of spatially extended matter”. He therefore states that “his......

Words: 1964 - Pages: 8

Free Essay

Dualism

...Wijsgerige antropologie Wijsgerige antropologie is het onderdeel van de filosofie dat het wezen van de mensen onderzoekt. Men probeert daarbij antwoorden te formuleren op vragen over onder meer • de verhouding tussen lichaam en geest, • het onderscheid tussen mensen en dieren, • de verschillen tussen mannen en vrouwen, • de opvatting van (geestes)ziekte en (geestelijke) gezondheid, • de invloed van erfelijkheid en opvoeding (nature – nurture), • de ontwikkeling van kind tot volwassene, • de wisselwerking tussen individu en samenleving en • de grens tussen rationaliteit en het onderbewuste. Behalve wijsgerige antropologie bestaan er buiten de filosofie ook de studies van de culturele antropologie en de fysische antropologie. Culturele antropologie noemt men ook wel de sociologie van de niet-westerse volkeren. Bij de culturele antropologie bestudeert men de manier waarop tradities en gebruiken functioneren binnen samenlevingen. Bij de fysische antropologie bestudeert men de ontwikkeling en de werking van het menselijk lichaam. Hoewel de wijsgerige antropologie nadrukkelijk een onderdeel vormt van de filosofie en zij haar eigen argumentatieve methoden hanteert, zijn de bevindingen van de culturele en de fysische antropologie soms wel degelijk relevant voor de wijsgerige antropologie. Zo hebben bijvoorbeeld de theorieën over primitieve beschavingen van Lévi-Strauss en de evolutietheorie van Darwin een diepgaande invloed uitgeoefend op de manier waarop...

Words: 6503 - Pages: 27

Free Essay

Dualism vs Materialsim

...Materialism is a belief in matter, whereas dualism is not its opposite and "vs" has no relevance or meaing because materialism cannot vs dualism. Those who are deprived of the spiritual insights undersand dualism in a lower pedestal than the meaning it has or indicates. Dualism is a state of being or existence in two seemingly opposite entities. Dvaita (dualistic) as clearly defined in Sankhya Philosophy as opposed to Advaita (non-dualistic) monism as clearly defined by Adi Shri Shankaracharya. Though Plato did believe in Dualism and reached a stage of defining the fifth element Ether but he could not grasp the spiritual essense of it completely due to lack of spiritual progress in life. That pertains to matter is materialism. That pertains to Spirit is spiritualism. Spirit and matter are dual states of existence, like night and day, black and white, good and evil and all such seemingly opposites. But, the fact remains that the seemingly opposites cannot exist in isolation from the source and remains within or connected to the source and therefore everything in the world is one unit of undifferentiated Brahman or Sat Chit Ananda (Truth(Existance), Consciousness and Bliss). If the cosmos is a one Monistic Unit of Undifferentiated Brahman, due to the illusion of the senses, the undifferentiated brahman is seen by human beings as differentiated and having separate entitties. Here the division begins, the pattern of two is dualism, then the pattern of three, the pattern of four......

Words: 1163 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Philosophy

...the mind and the body. Man existing as a dualist: Descartes in his Passions of the Soul and The Description of the Human Body suggested that the body works like a machine, that it has material properties. The mind (or soul), on the other hand, was described as a nonmaterial and does not follow the laws of nature. Descartes argued that the mind interacts with the body at the pineal gland. This form of dualism or duality proposes that the mind controls the body, but that the body can also influence the otherwise rational mind, such as when people act out of passion. Most of the previous accounts of the relationship between mind and body had been uni-directional. In philosophy of mind, dualism is any of a narrow variety of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which claims that mind and matter are two ontologically separate categories. In particular, mind-body dualism claims that neither the mind nor matter can be reduced to each other in any way, and thus is opposed to materialism in general, and reductive materialism in particular. In philosophy of mind, dualism is the position that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical or that the mind and body are not identical. Thus, it encompasses a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, and is contrasted with other positions, such as physicalism, in the mind-body problem. In present day discussions on the practice of animal vivisection, it is normal to consider Descartes as an......

Words: 3943 - Pages: 16

Premium Essay

Dualism Theories

...TABLE OF CONTENTS 1. Introduction 2. Dualism Theories 3. The Concept of Dualism in Economics 4. Does the concept of Dualism adequately portray the development picture in most developing countries? 5. Conclusion 6. Refrences INTRODUCTION Dualism is derived from the Latin word duo meaning "two"‬ denotes the state of two parts. The term 'dualism' was originally coined to denote co-eternal binary opposition, a meaning that is preserved in metaphysical and philosophical duality discourse but has been more generalized in other usages to indicate a system which contains two essential parts. Dualism is a major characteristic of an underdeveloped economy. Dualism refers to that condition of a country when two sectors advanced of modern sector and the backward or traditional exist side by side. For instance we have modern industries and the old cottage industries medieval farming being practiced at the same time. In other words, in an under developed country, there is the bullock cart economy and modern transport operating at the same time. DUALISM THEORIES Dualism theories assume a split of economic and social structures of different sectors so that they differ in organization, level of development, and goal structures. Usually, the concept of economic dualism differentiates between two sectors of economy: * The traditional subsistence sector consists of small-scale agriculture * True, handicraft and petty trade, has a...

Words: 2430 - Pages: 10

Premium Essay

Describe and Assess Dualism as a Theory of the Relation of Mind and Body.

...assess dualism as a theory of the relation of mind and body. Human beings are material objects. However, unlike other material objects (e.g. non-living things) humans have the ability to form judgements and reason their existence. Meaning to say that, human beings have 'minds'. In general, humans are characterised as having both a mind and body.  By definition, mind is referred to the mental processes, thought and consciousness whereas body is referred to the physical aspects of the brain-neurons and how the brain is structured. This is known as dualism.  In the philosophy of mind, dualism is the theory that the mental (mind) and the physical (body) are both real or exist, but both of them are different kinds of thing. The theory of mind-body dualism is presented by Rene Descartes (1596-1650), who holds that both mind and body are substances, in which the body is a material substance as it is extended in space whereas the mind is an unextended in space, and so called spiritual substance. According to Descartes, he believed that mind and body actually can interact through the pineal gland in the brain. In Descartes’s first principle of philosophy, “I think, therefore I am”, makes mind more certain than matter. It also showed that the mind which is a thinking thing can exist apart from its extended body. Hence, Descartes said that the mind is a substance that is different from the body (a substance whose essence is thought). This became known as “Substance Dualism”......

Words: 1196 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Dualism

...Rene Descartes’ theory of dualism was one of most advanced forms of philosophical dualism, it is commonly related to the correspondence between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and Descartes. In this essay, I will explain the problem that Elisabeth had with Descartes new found ideas and elaborate on his replies. In doing so I will create a deeper understanding of Cartesian Dualism and analyze the possibility of it still being an accurate claim after many centuries. Descartes’ felt the only thing in his life that could not be a deception from the Great Demon was his mind. He believed his body and surroundings could all be an illusion, but of the one thing he was sure of, because he had complete control over was his mind, his philosophy was “I think, therefore I am.” Because of this, he proposed that the mind and the body were two separate entities. This proposal went against the common theories of the time, leading Princess Elisabeth to write to Descartes asking for further explanation on what exactly he meant by the mind and body being “separate”. She asked how it could be possible for the mind and body to be separate entities yet still work in perfect unity. Descartes suggests that because of Elisabeth’s metaphysical beliefs, she is not capable of comprehending the mind and body as individual, separate entities. (Tollesfen, 1999) However, Princess Elisabeth did not only write to Descartes to have Philosophical conversation, but for assurance on the morality of Descartes......

Words: 1584 - Pages: 7