Examine and Comment on the Claim That the Mind and the Body Are the Same

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Examine and comment on the claim that the mind and body are the same, with reference to the topic you have investigated.

The mind and body are the same is the view that hard materialists take. Hard materialists believe that when either the body or soul dies, the other dies too. This means that they believe there is no after life, no purgatory etc. Ryle and Dawkins are hard materialists; they also think that believing in the soul is dangerous to human endeavour. Being a hard materialist, Dawkins and Ryle would believe that the body and soul are purely physical and they are one.

Scholars such as Plato and Descartes are dualists. Dualists, unlike hard materialists believe that the body and soul are distinct things that are joined
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‘If I am thinking, therefore I am’ meaning that no one can deceive him into thinking that he is thinking. But this argument is fallacious. It is criticised using the masked man fallacy. Lois Lane can doubt her colleague is superman. She can’t doubt he’s Clarke Kent so Clarke Kent can’t be Superman.

Hard materialists do believe that the mind and body are the same. Gilbert Ryle uses the ‘ghost in the machine’ analogy to describe his belief. The mind being the ghost and the body being the machine. The idea is that dualism is ridiculous because it doesn’t do justice to our experience, whether hard materialists such as Dawkins and Ryle are rationalists. If dualism were true, we’d have a ghostly inner self controlling a mechanical body. But there is a problem of interaction. How can a non-physical mind interact with a physical body?

Dualism rests on a category mistake which is why people believe it. This is where you talk about one kind of thing as if it were another kind of thing.

Ryle being a behaviourist can be criticised. Ryle believes that behaviour shows what you’re thinking. But there is no evidence in this theory, there are a huge amount of things he could be doing that we could interpret as signifying what he is feeling/thinking. For example, a toothache.

a. Explain Richard Dawkins’ view (with quotes) i. One strength of the hard materialist
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