In this blog I present, in an informal way, core ideas in philosophy and their application to current events and everyday life.
One of the questions that has perplexed philosophers as far back as Plato is the issue involving states of the mind and states of the body. Many philosophers have weighed in on the argument, proposing various theories such as dualism, monism and nihilism. Over the course of this essay, I will analyse the position that dualists take on the mind-body problem and use their argument to see whether mental states and physical states should be thought of as one and the same.
Dualism is a theory which promotes the idea that mental and physical states are two separate substances working in the body. The physical states are material, temporal and spatial, whereas the mental states are immaterial, not spatial and temporal.
This theory, which Descartes promotes, seeks to cement dualism as the reality of the mind-body problem. Lowe describes Descartes position as: This sums up the position that the dualist takes to mental and physical states; mental states are controlled by an immaterial substance a soul according to Descartes, but his is not the consensus across dualists and physical states are controlled by the material body.
For Descartes, there are two arguments which he uses to justify that dualism was the reality of the body. The first argument is known as the conceivability argument. This leads him to believe that Divisibility argument he can exist independently of his body, then he and his body cannot be identical, and thus must be two separate substances.
Joseph Almog expresses the argument differently, but the outcome is the same: In some respects this theory could be true, and Lowe believes that it would make sense of such events as outer body experiences, where subjects can see themselves outside of their own body.
Descartes position on this argument is recalled by Lowe as follows: It seems to follow from this that if you were to say lose an arm in battle, you would like to believe that you were the same person before and after the amputation, regardless of whether your body was slightly different, suggesting that physical states must be different from mental states.
One final argument in defence of dualism is the introspection argument. The argument in favour of dualism is as follows: This argument seems to make sense, for instance you know how you felt 5 minutes ago regarding a certain topic because you can think back to 5 minutes ago and remember it.
However, if you were to experience a strong physical pain, introspection cannot help you locate the problem is or shed any light on the issue, because it is a physical state and not a mental one. Therefore, it seems plausible that mental states and physical states are two distinct and separate things.
Dualism as a theory seems to be a very popular and as a result is referenced a lot in the modern day world. Dualism is also a very simple theory, and easy for the average man to understand without much problem.
However, as with every argument, there are opponents of it. The opposite of dualism is monism, the argument that mental and physical states are one and the same thing and should be identified together.
Over the next few paragraphs, I will assess some of the arguments that the monist would give in response to some of the points made by the dualist, and see whose argument seems the most plausible.
In response to the conceivability argument, the monist may refer to what is known as the zombie argument. The zombie argument is as follows: Is there any living person who can categorically say that they know what it is like to be separated from the body?
One of the more interesting argument against dualism, from a very scientific position, is that dualism violates the law of the conservation of energy.
This argument focusses on the interaction between the mental and the physical state. It seems that if there were any interaction, it could only be one way, from the immaterial mind to the physical body. But, how is it that the physical body can in some cases affect the immaterial mind?
This could only be possible if the mind was not immaterial, but in fact part of the physical. This argument is known as the causal argument as it seeks to explain how the two parts, the immaterial mind and the physical body causally interact with each other.
Dualism has no response to this argument and is vague in how the two constituent parts interact with each other, which gives us reason to reject the dualist position.
Another argument which arises from the anti-dualists is that Descartes has simplified the argument too much. Although this would not be a strictly monist theory, there are those, such as Stuart Spicker, who believe that the idea of having only two parts to the body is too simple.
They have taken for granted two distinct substances in man, as if they had seen the, and positively counted them. The body could also be made up of 10 or various states, but the dualist seeks to simplify it to only two parts, which could ultimately be wrong.The Divisibility Argument - Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.
A presentation, explanation, and analysis of Descartes' Divisibility Argument. The second argument is known as the divisibility argument. Descartes position on this argument is recalled by Lowe as follows: ‘This is that he, as a subject of experience, is a simple and indivisible substance, whereas his body, being spatially extended, is divisible and composed of different parts.’.
Sep 16, · The conceivability argument rests upon two similar principles: (a) The doctrine of clear and distinct is that anything that can be clearly and distinctly conceived of is possible and therefore can, in the "real world" correspond perfectly with one's understanding of it.
DIVISIBILITY ARGUMENT This paper will discuss the dualism's Divisibility Argument. This argument relies on Leibniz's Law and uses a different property to prove the distinctness of brain states of mental states.
Mary, who is a materialist, presents several objections to that argument. Her main objection corresponds to the first/third-person. This paper will discuss the dualism’s Divisibility Argument.
This argument relies on Leibniz’s Law and uses a different property to prove the distinctness of brain states of mental states. Mary, who is a materialist, presents several objections to that argument. Her main objection corresponds to. Feb 27, · Descartes’ “indivisibility” argument In the sixth of his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes writes: [T]here is a vast difference between mind and body, in respect that body, from its nature, is always divisible, and that mind is entirely indivisible.