The Mind-Body Problem Essay

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The Mind-Body Problem

The mind-body problem, which is still debated even today, raises the question about the relationship between the mind and the body. Theorists, such as René Descartes and Thomas Nagel, have written extensively on the problem but they have many dissenting beliefs. Descartes, a dualist, contends that the mind and body are two different substances that can exist separately. Conversely, Nagel, a dual aspect theorist, contends that the mind and body are not substances but different properties. However, although Nagel illustrates the problems with Descartes= theory, Nagel=s theory runs into the problem of panpsychism. In this paper, both arguments will be discussed to determine which, if either, side is stronger.
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exist without it@(Descartes 74). Descartes argument for this statement is seen in the following premises:
1) If I can clearly and distinctly distinguish a from b, than I can be certain that a is distinct from b.
2) I can clearly and distinctly distinguish my body from my mind.
3) My mind must be distinct from my body.

Descartes believes that since the mind and the body are two different things, then they can exist separately. This is the theory of dualism. In the Sixth Meditation, Descartes continues with his discussion about the mind-body problem by addressing the relationship between the mind and body. Descartes states that Anature ...teaches me by these feelings of pain, hunger, thirst, and so on that I am not only residing in my body, as a pilot in his ship, but furthermore, that I am intimately connected with it...@(Descartes 76). This relationship is the connection between the physical needs of the body and the mental acknowledgment of those needs. Although the mind and body are blended, the mind is the most essential.
Thomas Nagel approaches the mind body problem in a different manner. Nagel acknowledges that there is a close connection between mental life and the body, but he further questions the origin of our

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