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Unformatted text preview: Mind Body Classification Systems Text below is mostly copied straight from: http://www.philosophyonline.co.uk/pom/pom_introduction.htm Also see, for an alternative view (and further explication): http://home.btconnect.com/scimah/materialism.htm And for your gentle narrarator’s views on related matters go to: www.digital-entities.com Types of Monism / Materialism Monism, because it describes a belief in one substance, can be used in two distinct ways: • To describe the view that only matter, or the physical body, exist. • To describe the view that only mind, or spirit, exist. The first option is called "materialism" or "physicalism"; the second option is called "idealism" (which you may remember from our discussion of Berkeley in TOK). Whilst few people accept the idealist viewpoint, materialism is quite a widely held view. The main task for the materialist, however, is to show that consciousness and the mind can be accounted for in terms of properties of matter and the functioning of a physical substance: the brain. Introduction As we have seen, dualism - although, some would argue, the most common sense view - gives rise to all sorts of problems. If mind and body are separate substances, how do they interact? If mental stuff is immaterial - and therefore without quantity, weight, size, etc. - how do we know it exists? As a response to these problems, certain philosophers have argued that dualist account of mind is unnecessarily complicated and that the problems it presents can be solved by adopting a materialist view. Dualism, Cartesian Dualism The dualist viewpoint divides the human being into two substances: matter and mind. This view is, perhaps, the most natural one. The main reasons for this are: • It is suggested by our day-to-day experiences. It is quite common to distinguish between “my body” and “my self”, and our bodies may become injured or ill whilst our minds are active and alert. Our mental experience is also private, reinforcing the feeling that it is somehow separate. • Tradition. Views that spring from folklore, native belief and religion can all influence our views of our self. This is sometimes done consciously – as in the religious doctrine of immortality – or subtly, through language and the way in which we refer to ourselves. Popularity of Dualism Perhaps the best way to introduce the philosophy of mind is to look at the most popular theory: dualism. When I say "popular", I am not however necessarily implying that it is held by most philosophers - it is not. Nor am I trying to argue that it is the theory of mind that best fits all the facts – that is debatable. However, dualism is the most popular theory of mind in that: • Most non-philosophers hold to this view • Most religious believers hold to this view • It is probably the oldest and most widespread theory of mind So, what is dualism? As the name implies, it is a view that implies that there are two separate and distinct substances that make up a human being: mind and body. In religious terms, the mind is distinct substances that make up a human being: mind and body....
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course BIO 101 taught by Professor Pott-santone during the Spring '08 term at Northeastern.
- Spring '08