Show MoreDoes Descartes provide a convincing argument for the claim that mind and matter are distinct substances
Descartes’ Argument For Dualism
In his Meditations Rene Descartes aimed to reconstruct the whole of science by trying to prove the distinction between mind and matter. He gives an argument from doubt, and another from conceivability. I will give a brief summary of the foundations Descartes builds his thesis on, and then looking at his arguments and whether they are capable of persuading us that dualism is a logical stance to hold.
To what extent if any is Descartes successful in showing there is a real distinction between mind and body
In Descartes’ Meditations, Descartes aims to reshape the whole of science by starting from…show more content…
It’s essence is not to think. We can then use this argument to see that it may be that the body is part of one’s essence but we cannot know this a priori. We have to be able to take an objective point of view (AT 7:198).
If one takes the above response to Descartes’ argument, one can see that Descartes is guilty of some small circular reasoning. He assumes that the mind is immaterial itself and its only essence is thinking. This cannot be proven. Yet, we can see how the mind in modern times may be explained from a materialist point of view. Therefore as the first premise cannot be proven, the argument is no longer valid.
Argument from Conceivability
In his sixth meditation Descartes provides the Argument from Conceivability to convince us of dualism:
It is conceivable that I exist in thought, without my extended body also existing. Moreover it is possible that I, a thinking being, can exist without my extended body existing. If it is logically possible that I can exist without my body existing then they are not identical and thus separate entities. Therefore I, a thinking being, am not the same as my extended body.
The Argument from Conceivability falls short on soundness – conceivability is not sufficient for logical possibility. For example, in number theory one of the greatest unsolved hypothesis is Goldbach’s conjecture. That is that every positive integer greater or equal to 4 can be expressed as the sum of two
Essay about Monism vs Dualism
1001 Words5 Pages
For centuries philosophers have debated on monism and dualism, two different philosophical views of the human person. Philosophers have been trying to decipher whether the person is made up of the mind, the body, or both. Monists hold the belief that existence is purely based upon one ultimate “category of being” this means that either the person is made up of only the body or only the mind (Morris p155). Dualists hold the belief that existence is based upon the body as well as the mind and its mental properties (Morris p155).
There are two basic types of monism. The first view is materialism, which states, “All that exists is matter, configured into material objects” (Morris…show more content…
In other words, physical things are actually mental and everything is based on the mind. For example, when a person sees a tall tree, the tree does not really exist it is just a picture in their mind. Idealism is not common among modern philosophers because idealists don’t have any solid facts for their argument that we exist with only our mind and what our mind produces (Morris p159). Another argument is that if the tree is a picture in a person’s mind then how come another person can see the exact same picture?
One type of monism is neutral monism. Neutral monism concludes that neither mental nor physical properties are attributed to reality but rather a substance called neutral stuff (Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Monism). Traditional materialism in monism proposes all things are part of the physical and the mental, the body and the mind (Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Monism). This means that a person’s mind works with their body through a simultaneous connection.
Dualists disagree with the monist view of existence. Dualists hold the belief that there is not one basic form of existence but that there are two forms of existence, the body and the mind. Dualists do believe that we exist with both body and mind but that body and mind are different and separate (Xrefer-Dualism). The main problem with the dualist theory is the question of how two different and separate entities,