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Elizabeth Olah

April 11, 2017

PHIL 100 Paper Assignment

The Inevitability of Dualism

Dualism is inevitable and cannot be disputed against reasonable rationality.

Throughout the centuries, many philosophers have argued the importance of

Descartes mind-body dualism. Some believe that if it is fact that the mind and

body are separate, then what is the point of investigating the topic further? Would

going through all of the research and effort truly be worth the trouble? However,

according to Descartes there is two significant factors in which motivates him to

pursue his theory: science and religion. I personally believe with Descartes, in that

there is value in investigating this topic further.

Dualism can be defined as, the view that a person is a combination of a mind

and a body (Cahn 131). Within his scholarly journal, Bogardus explores why

dualism is undefeated. He claims that non-dualists have consistently believed in

values that entail dualism, yet continues to not accept the whole idea of dualism.

With such evidence like possibility (this and that are not necessarily coextensional)

and non-identity (this is not identical with that), philosophers argue that it is

beyond rationality to believe that dualism is false (Undefeated Dualism, 444-447).


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Personally, a major issue that I have found while reading articles and

arguments concerning dualism is the definitions of the terms that philosophers

choose to use. For example, the term body is often understood as a physical object.

Those intellectuals against dualism would argue that a human body and a candle

are two physical objects; therefore, dualism cannot exist because of the lack of

consistency between a body and a mind (132, Taylor). However, the lack of

specificity is what causes these oppositions to arise. If philosophers would use

human body instead of body that would clear up half of the discussion against

the inevitability of dualism.

People have bodies. However, they are not just bodies. The second half of the

definition of dualism concerns the mind. When dualists describe the mind, they

are describing the part of humans that think, feel, desire, etc. All of these actions

associated with the mind cannot be measured in a scientific way; however, just

because these actions cannot be measured does not discredit the idea that the

source of these actions are not real (133, Taylor). The source is the mind or soul

that is considered immaterial, yet obvious that it exists. Both the physical and

mental states that come from the body and the mind are assimilated and cannot

be separated; even if half the equation cannot be scientifically measured.


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One objection that is often brought up by theorists is not the matter of where

dualism may occur but how it does. To some, the only logical explanation of the

mind and body interaction is an intervention from a higher being or God. Involving

religion into the mix can cause problems for those who do not particularly believe in

a God. For example, David Hume, a Scottish philosopher, believed that by

researching the owner of these properties, one just found more properties. He is

responsible for the term bundle dualism, which states that objects are generally

organized collections of properties (202-203, Howard). However, this theory (like

many others) does not fully explain the causal relationship between the mind and

body that occurs during dualism.

Therefore, despite the lack of scientific measurement and causal elements in

the relationship, dualism is a truth that is universal. It is understood among all of us

that our human body has an entity that controls our ability to think, feel, desire, and

more. Where this source comes from is a part of the individuality that people

possess, whether that is in God or other things. Realizing that the body and mind

have an assimilated relationship is essential to ones understanding of the human

experience.
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Bibliography

Bogardus, Tomas. "Undefeated Dualism." Philosophical Studies: An

International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, vol. 165, no. 2, 2013,

pp. 445-467.

Robinson, Howard. "Dualism." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford

University, 19 Aug. 2003.

Taylor, Richard. The Mind as a Function. Exploring Philosophy: An

Introductory Anthology,4th Edition, 2012, pp. 131-138.