Chapter 6 : The Mind-Body Problem
Section 3: DUALISM
Now we shall examine dualism.
It is the first of the options on the Mind Body Problem.
It is the most popular conception, it appears as the most obvious
answer to the problem and it is the source of the problem all at the same
dualism, Cartesian interactionist
The view that: (1) the mental and
the material comprise two different classes of substance and; (2) both can
have causal effects on the other.
Plato thought that the soul could and would exist apart from the body and would exist after the death of the body. He offered a "proof" for this position and was the first to do so in writing that we have any evidence of doing so. He offered several different proofs or arguments none of which are convincing today. They are held to be specious arguments or terribly flawed and unconvincing. He held that humans were composed of bodies and souls but the soul was more important and immortal. His arguments used premises which we question today. For example, Plato thought that he could conclude that the soul could exist independent of the body because it acted independently from the body when it engaged in pure thought. This is no longer accepted as true since it is equally evident today that without a physical brain thought appears unlikely to occur. Plato thought that the only way to explain how people come to know things is that they are remembering the knowledge implanted in their souls when the souls were in the realm of pure thought and eternal forms before entering into the body after which they forgot as they became confused by physical emotions an feelings and limited experiences through the senses. This is no longer accepted as the best explanation of how people come to have knowledge. None the less, Plato is credited with being the first human to attempt to set out any sort of a proof that humans had souls and that they survived the death of the body and that they were immortal. He offered these arguments in the Dialogue he wrote titled the Phaedo
Descartesalso believed that the soul existed prior to and separate from the body (see Meditation II of Meditations on First Philosophy ) and so was immortal. In his view all of reality consisted of two very different substances: matter or the physical and spirit or the non-physical. The physical was what would be extended in time and space and the non-physical would not be so characterized. For Descartes the soul of a human exists prior to and separate from the body. His proof consisted of argumentation that has been seriously criticized and rejected. He thought that if he could in some form demonstrate that humans can prove that they exist without first proving that they have physical bodies then that would prove that they did not need a physical body in order to exist. He thought that his famous claim that " I think therefore I am" established not just that he existed but that he existed without a body as a "thinking thing". A "thinking thing" is a thing that thinks and by that would be included: imagining, conceiving, hoping, dreaming, desiring, fearing, conjecturing, reasoning, remembering and more. For him a "thinking thing" needed no physical parts to do what it does. Modern science has established that there is no evidence of humans that are without a physical body and its brain. There is no evidence that thought is possible without a brain. There is much evidence that what has been associated with Descartes' "thinking thing" is now explained solely in terms of the brain and how the brain is physically structured and the functioning of the brain.
(NOTE: You must read only
those linked materials that are preceded by the capitalized word READ.)
READ Wikipedia on this dualism
Interactionism - minds and
bodies exist and interact in some way
Epiphenomenalism - body acts on
mind but minds do NOT act on bodies
Double Aspect Theory-there is
one substance with two aspects (mind/body)
Parallelism -minds and bodies exist in separate dimensions and are
i. Pre-Established Harmony-minds and bodies are set in motion and
coordinated from the beginning of time by a deity that creates the
ii. Occasionalism- on the occasion of the mind making a decision the body
is moved by the creator (deity) to do whatever the mind has decided to
make the body do.
A. Interactionism: History and Critics
René Descartes to William James
by Robert H. Wozniak
RENÉ DESCARTES AND THE LEGACY OF MIND/BODY DUALISM
The 17th Century: Reaction to the Dualism of Mind and Body
The 18th Century: Mind, Matter, and Monism
The 19th Century: Mind and Brain
Mind, Brain, and Adaptation: the Localization of Cerebral Function
and Trauma: Functional Nervous Disorders and the
THE RISE OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
The 17th and 18th Centuries: The Epistemology of Mind
The 19th Century: The Epistemology of the Nervous System
Brain, and the Experimental Psychology of Consciousness
PSYCHOLOGY IN AMERICA
Mind, Body, and Culture: American Psychology before William James
2. Biological Consciousness and the Experience of the Transcendent: William James and American Functional Psychology By Eugene Taylor, Harvard University Medical School
Definitions of DUALISM
READ Philosophy Dictionary on Dualism
entities do not have spatial properties, so there is no need to locate
them in physical space. Such
entities have there own metaphysical laws to follow.
God. Mind, spirit, souls all operate within that realm.
are those laws and how do they account for the results in the physical
Dualists claim that:
substances do not need to be similar in order to interact. b.There is also ample evidence that they do interact.
a) It was the dualists who established that the two substances were so
different that they could not interact.
The source of the problem is the dualist distinctions of the two
the evidence for interact could be explained in terms of brain actions
alone! The obviousness of
one’s causing one’s body to move by an act of the mind is not as
obvious as it seems.
mind may not add energy to a closed system, it may be simply redirecting
the energy already present.
How does the mind affect the redirection if the mind is not itself
made of energy or matter?
4.Dualists claim there is a compelling reason
to hold that there are two substances and not just one.
They claim it is needed to account for all phenomena of human
experience including consciousness.
The monists claim that it is
not necessary at all and that they have a satisfactory explanation of such
Please do view these two VIDEO from QualiaSoup on Substance Dualism - a good philosophical overview of the idea and problems with it.
Substance Dualism Pt 1: (10:45)
Substance Dualism Pt 2: (10:48)
Other Variations on Mind Body Dualism
on Mind Body Dualism
are some of the dualists’ responses to these points and objections to
them or criticisms of them.
Interactionism - minds and bodies exist and interact in some way
body acts on mind but minds do NOT act on bodies
The Theory of William James (covered above)
C. Double Aspect Theory-there is one
substance with two aspects (mind/body)
The Theory of Spinoza criticized as equating to Interactionism
The two aspects of the one substance are either illusory or if real then
there is the dualism issue once again as to how they are to interact.
Parallelism -minds and
bodies exist in separate dimensions and are coordinated
PRE ESTABLISHED HARMONY-minds and bodies are set in motion and
coordinated from the beginning of time by a deity that creates the
This theory seriously challenges notions of human freedom.
When a person wills to move a finger, that serves as the occasion
for God to move the finger; when an object suddenly appears in a person's
field of view, that serves as the occasion for God to produce a visual
perception in the person's mind.
Objection: This theory would make God an accomplice in every evil act.
attempt to defend the dualism
of MIND and
BODY meets with objections.
If you want to take the dualist position that we have both a physical and non-physical mind that position needs to be defended with reasoning and evidence and not merely made to rest on FAITH BASED CLAIM. In Philosophy it must be supported by reasoning and evidence. There must be both the exposition of the problem with the dualist claim and its solution. The dualist position creates the mind body problem! What is needed is a response to all the criticisms of the dualist position? Remember it is the one position that creates the problem. A dualist needs to account for all the evidence that disproves dualism and then needs to bridge the gap between the non-physical and the physical and solve the problem of interaction.
Dualists also nee to be aware that there is no claim about what a non-physical mind does that has not been demonstrated to be the result of BRAIN activity and functioning. Neuroscience discredits the claim of a non-physical mind. What evidence is offered by contemporary dualists of the existence of a non-physical mind?
Mind refers to the aspects of intellect and consciousness manifested as combinations of thought, perception, memory, emotion, will and imagination, including all of the brain's conscious and unconscious cognitive processes. "Mind" is often used to refer especially to the thought processes of reason. Subjectively, mind manifests itself as a stream of consciousness. READ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind
If this is the definition of mind then reflexes, controlled responses, survival instincts are not part of the mind but actually a part of the brain. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain
is another view of the problem.
with dualism comes a number of problems.
The most conspicuous and troublesome are:
Where does the interaction take place?
How does the interaction take place?
The idea of the mental causing the physical to act appears to
violate the principle of the conservation of energy
4. The idea of two realities appears to violate Ockam’s Razor, the principle of Simplicity, which holds that if there is no need to postulate additional entities one should avoid doing so..
There are two variations on
dualism with regard to the Mind Body Problem. Each involves the
agency of an all powerful deity. IF there is no logically valid
and sound proof for the existence of such a deity that is a problem.
Each involves the agency of an all powerful deity. IF there is no logically valid and sound proof for the existence of such a deity that is a problem.
With Occasionalism the deity becomes an accomplice in all manner of heinous actions of humans.
With Pre-Established Harmony the existence of Free Will in humans becomes a problem is all human actions have been predetermined from the beginning of time.
Proceed to the next section.
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