The Strengths and Weaknesses of Dualism

4580 Words Sep 22nd, 2006 19 Pages
Dualism is the belief that reality consists of two different, separate substances: that of the mental and that of the physical. "In philosophy of mind, the belief that the mental and physical are deeply different in kind: thus the mental is at least not identical with the physical." It directly opposes materialism, as dualism dictates that the mind is unidentifiable to the body, as opposed to stating that the mind and body exist as one. The concept of dualism is not only fundamental in philosophy, but also affects our thoughts on science, religion and psychology: for example, if a convincing rejection of dualism can be formulated, the materialist approach of modern science will be vindicated. If, conversely, dualism can be convincingly …show more content…
Aquinas agreed with the Artistotlean notion that when the soul entered the body it animated it and gave it life; calling it anima. Moreover according to Aquinas, the soul operates independently of the body and it cannot decay; for only things that can break into parts can decay, Thus, following Aquinas' argument, the soul is able to survive death. He also said that through the link with a particular human body, each soul becomes individual. So, even when a body dies, the soul that departs retains the individual identity of the body to which it was attached.

Despite this earlier work, there was still no explanation of how the soul and body worked together, if at all. This was until Descartes (1596- 1650) who provided the fundamental writings on dualism with his work Meditiations on First Philosophy. Indeed, he is considered "the father of modern philosophy" and his Meditations lead to the school of dualistic ontology known as Cartesian Interactionist Dualism, which still inspires much thought and extension by modern philosophers today. Descartes defined the 'mind' as "all the feelings and sensations that he could describe, but which he could not locate physically". He then furthered this by saying that the mind is everything that is non-physical.

"Then without doubt I exist also if he deceives me,

and let him deceive me as much as he will, he can

never cause me to be nothing so long as I think I am something...

it might possibly be the case if I ceased
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