Dualism Paper

Dualism Paper - A Defense of Mind-Body Dualism Melissa...

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A Defense of Mind-Body Dualism Melissa Harintho Philosophy 10100-01 Marian David / Anna Rafalski
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“To say at any point in the description [of interaction] that ‘the mind acts upon the body’ is not to explain anything, but rather just to spare oneself the task of pursuing the description of the chain of physical processes any further,” Richard Taylor declares at the conclusion of his chapter on Interactionism (Taylor, CR 22). The Principle of Mind- Body Interaction states that human minds can interact with human bodies. Thus, Mind- Body Interaction means that physical events can cause mental events, and mental events can cause physical events. On a separate note, the theory of Dualism states that everything is either mind or matter, and nothing is both. Another form of Dualism, Property Dualism, states that there are two sorts of properties: mental properties and physical properties. While the former type of Dualism (Substance Dualism) entails Property Dualism, Property Dualism does not presuppose Substance Dualism. Furthermore, when the principle of interaction and theory of dualism are juxtaposed, the Anti- Dualism argument can be made. This argument declares that (1) human minds can interact with human bodies and (2) if Dualism is true, then human minds cannot interact with human bodies. The Anti- Dualism argument concludes that therefore, (3) dualism is not true. The objective of this paper is to disprove the second premise of the Anti-Dualist argument, by demonstrating that Dualism does not preclude interaction of mind and body. The most grievous problem with the second premise is that it prematurely supposes that Dualism and Mind- Body Interaction cannot coexist. In his treatise, “On the Soul,” Aristotle demonstrates that Dualism and Mind- Body Interaction are harmonious concepts through his perception of the soul (which consists of the mind) not as a separate entity, but as the necessary form of the body.
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The origin of the Dualism- Interaction conflict arose when Princess Elisabeth asked Descartes to explain “how the mind, being only a thinking substance, can determine the body in producing voluntary actions.” Princess Elisabeth ultimately confessed that “it would be easier for [her] to admit matter and extension to the mind than it would be for [her] to concede the capacity to move a body and be moved by one to an immaterial thing.” Princess Elisabeth expressed her difficulty in understanding how an immaterial substance, such as mental intention, could produce a material substance, such as the physical movement of her arm. Following this line of reasoning, the theory of Materialism (everything is matter) become much more plausible than the theory of Dualism to Princess Elisabeth in the context of interaction. However, Materialists like Princess Elisabeth hold their current understanding of the nature of substance due to default reasoning, because they adopt their view of the nature of substance merely because it is difficult for them to perceive otherwise. As a result, these Materialists fail to
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Dualism Paper - A Defense of Mind-Body Dualism Melissa...

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