Substance Dualism Essays

The body was matter and all matter was simply extension, inertia moved by other things or describable in terms of space, depth, distance or length.

Descartes believed that the mind and body were two distinct substances: one of extension and divisibility, the other non-corporeal and indivisible.

The issue surrounds how the two substances could be seen to interact.

Secondly he seems to forget that we only have one tongue as a sense organ.

Zinn (1749) argued that the brain is fully divisible after split brain experiments on dogs.

The soul or ‘mind’ (res cogitans) as Descartes saw it, was radically different. It was not in motion but simply an indivisible thinking thing.

In his work Meditations Descartes outlines the fact that his body is divisible. This led him to believe that the mind and body were separate as he could imagine his mind without a body.Although, technically, Descartes is not on the specification as a named philosopher, his work is too important to ignore in the mind/body debate.The essay below was hand written in 45 minutes (and subsequently typed up without alterations – save a few spelling corrections).It may be argued that at least Leibniz and Malebranche remain true to their philosophical values rather than accepting a dubious ‘out’ in the guise of the pineal gland to slip the noose of Interactionism.However Leibniz and Malebranche’s theories did not pass the test of time mainly because of the lack of both causal power and moral responsibility we are left with if we accept their views.The justification of the sceptical method of doubting is too shaky to accept.The second issue we have is the issue of interactionism.He suggested that he may be being deceived by an evil deceiver but stressed that he had the concept of God as a supremely perfect being implanted in his mind.Since God, being perfect, could not deceive him he could trust his mental faculties. The argument is fallacious as the concept of God in his mind relies on his mental faculties being correct and his mental faculties rely on the concept of God not being some evil deceiver. Moreover, Descartes believed that God could do the logically impossible so it is plausible in this view, that God could be deceiving his faculties in to believing his thoughts are accurate.The logical problem arising from this was his contention that the mind could be separate from the body.He employed the method of doubting but did not believe that he could deny his mind because he was thinking (cogito ergo sum – “I think, therefore I am”).


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