The mind-body problem can be broken down into a series of questions. What is the mind? What is the body? Do the mind and body co-exist, or does the mind only exist in the body? Or does the body only exist in the mind? If both the mind and body exist, there could be a number of types of relationships. Maybe the mind affects the body. Maybe the body affects the mind, or maybe the mind and body both affect each other. The later possibility is called Dualist Interactionism, and is, in my mind, the most likely to be accurate. In this essay I will describe what this dualist theory is, and explain why I believe it to be true.
This mind-body problem that has been intriguing philosophers for a long time can be divided into two broad categories: dualism and monism. According to dualism, mind and body are two separate substances. There are several types of dualist views including parallelism, epiphenomenalism, occassionalism and interactionism. John Locke and Rene Descartes are among those who laid the foundation of this idea. Whereas Locke and Descartes believed in Dualism, there were other famous philosophers and thinkers who supported two kinds of monism: ideal monism and material monism. Monism is the theory where the mind and body are inseparable and are each influenced by the other.
Berkeley and Aristotle were some of the well-known theorists who believed in monism though their views differed slightly. Monist arguments were in direct contrast with dualist views, but it was the philosophical writings of René Descartes and his dualism theory that paved the way for further debate and discussion in this important mind-body issue. The whole problem revolves around the question, “Is mind the same thing as body? And if yes, how? And if no, why not?” The debate may appear simple to those involved in religion. Many times, faith is resulted to when one deals with the mind-body problem. The debate may even appear simpler to those who are rather scientific in thinking. Several modern scientists have removed the soul and spirit part to discard the mind body issue. However the solution is not that simple, not at least for philosophers who have tried endlessly to seek a suitable answer to this question.
... body and the mind. Dualists do believe that we exist with both body and mind but that body and mind are different and separate (Xrefer-Dualism). The main problem ... Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. . "Dualism." Oxford Encyclopedia. Keyword: Dualism." Monism." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. ." Monism." Oxford Encyclopedia. Keyword: Monism. Morris, Tom. Philosophy For Dummies. ...
Rene Descartes resolved the issue by focusing on the dualist views, which suggest that mind and body are two different entities, which interact with each other as, and when the need arises. He presented two arguments in this connection, which have been widely challenged and argued by later philosophers. However Descartes’ views were found interesting and opened door for further research and debate in this area.
In the first argument, he states that mind and body are separate entities, which cannot be considered ‘one’ for several reasons. He based his argument on the notion that since existence of mind cannot be doubted while body’s existence is debatable; it means that the two are not the same. In Meditation 2, Descartes clearly writes, “You cannot doubt you have a mind. You can doubt that you have a body. So, your mind and your body are not identical.” The idea here is extremely vague, leading me to no immediate conclusions. Why we would doubt the existence of our bodies is simply beyond me.
The second argument however makes more sense as it dwells on the properties of the two entities. Descartes maintains that if the two objects do not have the same properties, they cannot be termed as one. In other words, for two matters to be the same, they should have similar properties. However this is not case with mind and body and thus the two are separate entities. Descartes was of the view that since body has extensions and mind doesn’t, the two shouldn’t be taken as one. He also maintained that mind and body cause each other to perform certain functions. He felt that “physical events can cause mental events, and vice versa.”
... mind and body were thoroughly bound up together in one complex and confusing bundle. What is the mind-body problem? Descartes ... formed within one's mind.Perhaps the best argument for the mind is instinctive. We know that ... walking. This brain event is closely connected with John's decision; the brain event ... problem says that there exist two distinct entities, body and soul, that interact with each ...
This means that one makes the other perform a certain function. For example when we touch something, we are being told by our mind to do so. However the final manifestation of this appears as a physical function and thus he established the mind-body connection. However this argument has been challenge by many who feel that if mind and body are connected with each other, there must be something between them that connects them. In reply to the criticism, Descartes claimed that the mind and body were connected by a pineal gland in the body. Critics believe that even this claim invites criticism because if the mind and body are connected by pineal glands, then what are these glands a part of? Since they are tangible and visible, should they be considered a part of the body or the mind? However, years later, scientists discovered that the glands Descartes proposed did not exist.
Although the connection of the mind and body wasn’t as Descartes described, the basis of his ideas is still very popular. It seems to be the most reasonable answer to the mind-body problem. However, the debate continues to go on and no suitable solution is imminent. Even if philosophers agree on some theory, scientists would be quick to challenge their views because mind and body are both philosophical as well as physiological issues. So, therefore, in my mind, the answer will always remain unsolved. However, based on the information that we have, the dualist theory seems to be the most likely to be true.