Dualism And Its Effects On The World

1870 Words8 Pages
Introduction The incredible success of the physical sciences in the past few centuries has brought with it a new view of our place in the world. While technology and medicine have made huge strides in giving our species an upper-hand in the fight for survival, elegant physical theories have given us a deeper understanding of the universe itself; having opened Pandora 's Box, most of us are ready to hail the rise of Physicalism, confident that we will soon have a complete understanding of the world and all its workings. But despite its success in nearly every other area, the physicalist worldview meets with a particular problem in the area of the mind. While elegant and sometimes-convincing theories have been put forth to rid our philosophy of Descartes 's troublesome specter, they have each come up against various obstacles and, sometimes, dead-ends. While phlogiston, the ether, and élan vital have been gracefully put to rest, Dualism has, for better or worse, stuck around. Here I will briefly discuss a few of the proposed alternatives to Dualism and some of the issues they have encountered, with the aim to show that, unlike those subjects covered by the physical sciences, the mind brings it some unique properties that may simply not lend themselves to physical explanation.
Ryle 's Onslaught and the Behaviorists In his book The Concept of Mind, Gilbert Ryle made a seminal argument that would contribute to a then-blossoming resistance to Rene Descartes 's immaterial,

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