Descartes Mistake: How Afterlife Beliefs Challenge the Assumption that Humans are Intuitive Cartesian Dualists
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Journal of Cognition and Culture 8 (3-4):387-415 (2008)
This article presents arguments and evidence that run counter to the widespread assumption among scholars that humans are intuitive Cartesian substance dualists. With regard to afterlife beliefs, the hypothesis of Cartesian substance dualism as the intuitive folk position fails to have the explanatory power with which its proponents endow it. It is argued that the embedded corollary assumptions of the intuitive Cartesian substance dualist position (that the mind and body are different substances, that the mind and soul are intensionally identical, and that the mind is the sole source of identity) are not compatible with cultural representations such as mythologies, funerary rites, iconography and doctrine as well as empirical evidence concerning intuitive folk reasoning about the mind and body concerning the afterlife. Finally, the article
suggests an alternative and more parsimonious explanation for understanding intuitive folk representations of the afterlife.
|Keywords||afterlife bloom cartesian substance dualism soul folk psychology of souls embodiment|
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Citations of this work BETA
Edward Slingerland & Maciej Chudek (2011). The Prevalence of Mind–Body Dualism in Early China. Cognitive Science 35 (5):997-1007.
Emma Cohen, Emily Burdett, Nicola Knight & Justin Barrett (2011). Cross-Cultural Similarities and Differences in Person-Body Reasoning: Experimental Evidence From the United Kingdom and Brazilian Amazon. Cognitive Science 35 (7):1282-1304.
Fernando Vidal (forthcoming). Dualisms of Body and Soul: Historiographical Challenges to a Stereotype. Metascience:1-4.
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