Materialism, Dualism, Idealism essay on Essay Tree
The more modern versions of dualism have their origin in Descartes'Meditations, and in the debate that was consequent uponDescartes' theory. Descartes was a substance dualist. Hebelieved that there were two kinds of substance: matter, of which theessential property is that it is spatially extended; and mind, ofwhich the essential property is that it thinks. Descartes' conceptionof the relation between mind and body was quite different from thatheld in the Aristotelian tradition. For Aristotle, there is no exactscience of matter. How matter behaves is essentially affected by theform that is in it. You cannot combine just any matter with any form—you cannot make a knife out of butter, nor a human being outof paper—so the nature of the matter is a necessary conditionfor the nature of the substance. But the nature of the substance doesnot follow from the nature of its matter alone: there is no‘bottom up’ account of substances. Matter is adeterminable made determinate by form. This was how Aristotle thoughtthat he was able to explain the connection of soul to body: aparticular soul exists as the organizing principle in a particularparcel of matter.
Dualism vs. Materialism: A Response to Paul Churchland
So either I support the theory of dualism, which is the belief that there is both a physical and a spiritual state, or I believe in materialism, which is the belief that everything that exists is material or physical.
Furthermore, according to dualism, the mind possesses neither mass, shape, nor momentum. Yet the brain is a physical object. Dualism maintains that mind and brain affect each other, but how could a massless, non-physical mind that possesses no momentum or solidity have any kind of effect on a physical object such as a brain? Such interaction wouldn't seem to make any sense at all. This causal connection certainly cannot be explained in scientific terms, for science deals only with material entities, events and processes.
Substance Dualism vs. Materialism - Term Paper
In every system of cause and effect, there must exist at least one cause and effect connection that is unanalyzable, or “primitive,” for analysis cannot go on forever. An unanalyzable causal connection would be a cause and effect connection that cannot be broken down into smaller parts. In response to the above objection, the dualist may theorize that the causal connection between the mind and the brain is simply one of these unanalyzable, primitive causal connections. If so, then it is simply a basic, unanalyzable fact about us that our immaterial minds have this admittedly mysterious causal power (the power to affect our physical brains and to be affected by the brain as well). In other words, perhaps the causal connection between mind and brain cannot be analyzed into a set of simpler elements or mechanisms and therefore cannot be made part of a scientific theory. Says the dualist: So much the worse for science.
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Descartes' conception of a dualism of substances came underattack from the more radical empiricists, who found it difficult toattach sense to the concept of substance at all. Locke, as a moderateempiricist, accepted that there were both material and immaterialsubstances. Berkeley famously rejected material substance, because herejected all existence outside the mind. In his earlyNotebooks, he toyed with the idea of rejecting immaterialsubstance, because we could have no idea of it, and reducing the selfto a collection of the ‘ideas' that constituted its contents. Finally,he decided that the self, conceived as something over and above theideas of which it was aware, was essential for an adequateunderstanding of the human person. Although the self and its acts arenot presented to consciousness as objects of awareness, we areobliquely aware of them simply by dint of being active subjects. Humerejected such claims, and proclaimed the self to be nothing more than aconcatenation of its ephemeral contents.
Eliminative Materialism and Dualism Essay - 1049 Words
There are two important concepts deployed in this notion. One isthat of substance, the other is the dualism of thesesubstances. A substance is characterized by its properties, but,according to those who believe in substances, it is more than thecollection of the properties it possesses, it is the thingwhich possesses them. So the mind is not just a collection ofthoughts, but is that which thinks, an immaterial substanceover and above its immaterial states. Properties are the properties ofobjects. If one is a property dualist, one may wonder whatkinds of objects possess the irreducible or immaterial properties inwhich one believes. One can use a neutral expression and attribute themto persons, but, until one has an account of person,this is not explanatory. One might attribute them to human beingsqua animals, or to the brains of these animals. Then one willbe holding that these immaterial properties are possessed by what isotherwise a purely material thing. But one may also think that not onlymental states are immaterial, but that the subject that possesses themmust also be immaterial. Then one will be a dualist about that towhich mental states and properties belong as well about theproperties themselves. Now one might try to think of these subjects asjust bundles of the immaterial states. This is Hume's view. But if onethinks that the owner of these states is something quite over and abovethe states themselves, and is immaterial, as they are, one will be asubstance dualist.