Arguing against the prevailing view that Cartesian dualism is fundamental to understanding Descartes' philosophy, Gordon Baker and Katherine Morris present a controversial examination of Descartes' philosophy. As the first full-length study of Descartes' conception of the person, Baker and Morris depart radically from traditional representations of Descartes'argument about the persona, the cogito, and the alleged "mind/body" dualism. Contesting the nearly institutionalized view that Cartesian duality is central to understanding Descartes, Baker and Morris illuminate how this "reading" has been (...) ascribed mistakenly and erroneously to Descartes. Controversially, they show how this interpretation has led to abuse both within philosophy and beyond it. Refusing to draw a distinction between the mind and the body in traditional ways, Baker and Morris open up interesting ways of conceptualizing both ourselves and philosophy itself. (shrink)
In this paper I argue against the view, defended by some philosophers, that it is part of the meaning of mental that being mental is incompatible with being physical. I call this outlook metalinguistic dualism, and I distinguish it from metaphysical theories of the mind-body relation such as Cartesian dualism. I argue that MLD is mistaken, but I don't try to defend the contrary view that mentalistic terms can be definitionally reduced to nonmental ones. After criticizing arguments by (...) certain philosophers which purport to establish MLD, I formulate a criterion for a phenomenon's being mental. I then show that this criterion is neutral between monistic and dualistic theories of the mind-body relation. Since if MLD were true it should be impossible to construct such a criterion, I conclude that it is false. The significance of my paper is that if I am right then I remove one important type of objection to aposteriori, noneliminative forms of the identity theory of mind, namely that such theories ought to be rejected merely on the basis of semantical considerations about the word mental. Beyond that, I believe that my criterion of mental phenomena correctly captures our intuitions about the nature of the distinction between mental and nonmental phenomena. (shrink)
Was Descartes a Cartesian Dualist? In this controversial study, Gordon Baker and Katherine J. Morris argue that, despite the general consensus within philosophy, Descartes was neither a proponent of dualism nor guilty of the many crimes of which he has been accused by twentieth century philosophers. In lively and engaging prose, Baker and Morris present a radical revision of the ways in which Descartes' work has been interpreted. Descartes emerges with both his historical importance assured and his philosophical importance (...) redeemed. (shrink)
I explicate the Churchland's dualistic interaction and neural dependence objections to Cartesian dualism and argue that Aquinas’s conception of Aristotelian hylomorphism provides a way out of those objections. -/- .
Dualism can be contrasted with monism, and also with physicalism. It is argued here that what is essential to physicalism is not just its denial of dualism , but the epistemological and ontological authority it gives to physical science. A physicalist view of the mind must be reductive in one or both of the following senses: it must identify mental phenomena with physical phenomena or it must give an explanation of mental phenomena in physical terms . There is (...) little reason to call a view which is not reductive in either of these senses “physicalism”. If reduction is rejected, then a non-physicalist form of monism is still available, which may be called “emergentism”. (shrink)
In this paper, I explore anomalous dualism about consciousness, a view that has not previously been explored in any detail. We can classify theories of consciousness along two dimensions: first, a theory might be physicalist or dualist; second, a theory might endorse any of the three following views regarding causal relations between phenomenal properties (properties that characterize states of our consciousness) and physical properties: nomism (the two kinds of property interact through deterministic laws), acausalism (they do not causally interact), (...) and anomalism (they interact but not through deterministic laws). I suggest that a kind of anomalous dualism, nonreductive anomalous panpsychism, promises to offer the best overall answer to two pressing issues for dualist views, the problem of mental causation and the mapping problem (the problem of predicting mind-body associations). (shrink)
Substance dualism is widely rejected by philosophers of mind, but many continue to accept some form of property dualism. The assumption here is that one can consistently believe that (1) mental properties are not physical properties, while denying that (2) mental particulars are not physical particulars. But is this assumption true? This paper considers several analyses of what makes something a physical particular (as opposed to a non-physical particular), and it is argued that on any plausible analysis, accepting (...) (1) requires accepting (2) as well. (shrink)
This paper is divided into two main sections. The first articulates what I believe Strawson's position to be. I contrast Strawson's usage of 'physicalism' with the mainstream use. I then explain why I think that Strawson's position is one of property dualism and substance monism. In doing this, I outline his view and Locke's view on the nature of substance. I argue that they are similar in many respects and thus it is no surprise that Strawson actually holds a (...) view on the mind much like one plausible interpretation of Locke's position. Strawson's use of terminology cloaks this fact and he does not himself explicitly recognize it in his paper. In the second section, I outline some of Strawson's assumptions that he uses in arguing for his position. I comment on the plausibility of his position concerning the relation of the mind to the body compared with mainstream physicalism and various forms of dualism. Before embarking on the two main sections, in the remainder of this introduction, I very briefly sketch Strawson's view. (shrink)
Debates on dualism continue to plague psychiatry. I suggest that these debates are based on false dichotomies. According to metaphysical physicalism, reality is ultimately physical. Although this view excludes the idea of entities distinct from physical reality, it does not compel us to favour neural over psychological interventions. According to methodological dualism, both physical and mental interventions on the world can be deemed effective, and both perspectives can therefore be thought to be equally ‘real’.
A primary goal of this chapter is to highlight neglected epistemic parallels between dualism and physicalism. Both dualist and physicalist arguments employ a combination of empirical data and armchair reflection; both rely on considerations stemming from how we conceptualize certain phenomena; and both aim to establish views that are compatible with scientific results but go well beyond the deliverances of empirical science. -/- I begin the chapter by fleshing out the distinctive commitments of dualism, in a way that (...) illuminates the interplay of epistemic and metaphysical elements within the dualist position. Section 2 outlines two influential arguments for dualism and explains how dualists defend those arguments from key criticisms. Sections 3 and 4 examine the most powerful objections to dualism: that it is inferior to physicalism as regards the theoretical virtue of simplicity, and that it cannot explain mental causation. I show that each of these objections to dualism depends on substantial assumptions that cannot be empirically justified. The objection from mental causation additionally rests on an ambitious assumption about how we conceptualize physical phenomena. Section 5 briefly reviews how epistemic considerations inform arguments on both sides of this debate. (shrink)
Epiphenomenalist dualists hold that certain physical states give rise to non-physical conscious experiences, but that these non-physical experiences are themselves causally inefficacious. Among the most pressing challenges facing epiphenomenalists is the so-called “paradox of phenomenal judgment”, which challenges epiphenomenalism’s ability to account for our knowledge of our own conscious experiences. According to this objection, we lack knowledge of the very thing that epiphenomenalists take physicalists to be unable to explain. By developing an epiphenomenalist theory of subjects and mental states, this (...) paper argues that there is nothing paradoxical or problematic about the epiphenomenalist’s understanding of phenomenal judgments or phenomenal self-knowledge. The appearance of paradox emerges from inconsistently combining (epiphenomenalist) dualism about qualia with a physicalistic conception of subjects of experience. The lesson we should take from this is not that there is anything wrong with epiphenomenalism, but that epiphenomenalist dualists should be “dualists all the way down”—embracing a picture of mind that gives phenomenology a central place, in its understanding of both subjects and their knowledge of their own minds. Epiphenomenalist-friendly accounts of reference and memory are also developed, showing that neither of these issues creates a paradox for the epiphenomenalist. (shrink)
The paper argues that dualism can explain mental causation and solve the exclusion problem. If dualism is combined with the assumption that the psychophysical laws have a special status, it follows that some physical events counterfactually depend on, and are therefore caused by, mental events. Proponents of this account of mental causation can solve the exclusion problem in either of two ways: they can deny that it follows that the physical effect of a mental event is overdetermined by (...) its mental and physical causes, or they can accept that the physical effect is overdetermined but claim that this is unproblematic because the case is sufficiently dissimilar to prototypical cases of overdetermination. (shrink)
One of the things C. D Broad argued many years ago is that certain 'scientific' arguments against dualist interactionism come back in the end to a metaphysical bias in favor of materialism. Here the authors pursue this basic strategy against another 'scientific' argument against dualism itself. The argument is called 'the argument from continuity'. According to this argument the fact that organisms and species develop by insensible gradations renders dualism implausible. The authors try to demonstrate that this argument (...) fails to establish the implausibility of dualism. (shrink)
After drawing a distinction between two kinds of dualism—numerical dualism and modal dualism —we argue that Descartes is a numericaldualist, but not a modal dualist. Since most contemporary dualists advocate modal dualism, the relation of Descartes’ views to the contemporary philosophy of mind are more complex than is commonly assumed.
We know what one dualist account of human action looks like, because Descartes gave us one. I want to explore the extent ot which presnet-day accounts of physical action are vulnerable to the charges that may be made against Descartes's dualist account. I once put forward an account of human action, and I have always maintained that my view about the basic shape of a correct ‘theory of aciton’ can be combined with a thoroughgoing opposition to dualism. But the (...) possibility of the combination has been doubted and it will remain doubtful until we have a better understanding of what makes an account objectionably dualistic. In this paper, I hope to deflect some of the criticims aimed what I shall call my account, and to show that when they are turned onto their proper path their actual target is some physicalist accounts. (shrink)
(added for 2013 upload): This chapter compares classical dualist and reductionist views of phenomenal consciousness with an alternative, reflexive way of viewing the relations amongst consciousness, brain and the external physical world. It argues that dualism splits the universe in two fundamental ways: in viewing phenomenal consciousness as having neither location nor extension it splits consciousness from the material world, and subject from object. Materialist reductionism views consciousness as a brain state or function (located and extended in the brain) (...) which eliminates the consciousness/material world split, but retains the split of subject from object. The chapter argues that neither dualism nor reductionism accurately describes the phenomenal world; consequently they each provide a misleading understanding of phenomenal consciousness. Reflexive monism follows the contours of everyday experience, thereby allowing a more unified understanding of how phenomenal consciousness relates to the brain and external physical world that is consistent both with the findings of science and with common sense. The chapter goes on to consider how phenomenal objects relate to real objects, perceptual projection, how phenomenal space relates to physical space, whether the brain is in the world or the world in the brain, and why this matters for science. (shrink)
The principle of energy conservation is widely taken to be a se- rious difficulty for interactionist dualism (whether property or sub- stance). Interactionists often have therefore tried to make it satisfy energy conservation. This paper examines several such attempts, especially including E. J. Lowe’s varying constants proposal, show- ing how they all miss their goal due to lack of engagement with the physico-mathematical roots of energy conservation physics: the first Noether theorem (that symmetries imply conservation laws), its converse (that (...) conservation laws imply symmetries), and the locality of continuum/field physics. Thus the “conditionality re- sponse”, which sees conservation as (bi)conditional upon symme- tries and simply accepts energy non-conservation as an aspect of interactionist dualism, is seen to be, perhaps surprisingly, the one most in accord with contemporary physics (apart from quantum mechanics) by not conflicting with mathematical theorems basic to physics. A decent objection to interactionism should be a posteri- ori, based on empirically studying the brain. (shrink)
In the standard thought experiments, dualism strikes many philosophers as true, including many non-dualists. This ‘striking’ generates prima facie justification: in the absence of defeaters, we ought to believe that things are as they seem to be, i.e. we ought to be dualists. In this paper, I examine several proposed undercutting defeaters for our dualist intuitions. I argue that each proposal fails, since each rests on a false assumption, or requires empirical evidence that it lacks, or overgenerates defeaters. By (...) the end, our prima facie justification for dualism remains undefeated. I close with one objection concerning the dialectical role of rebutting defeaters, and I argue that the prospects for a successful rebutting defeater for our dualist intuitions are dim. Since dualism emerges undefeated, we ought to believe it. (shrink)
The phenomenal concept strategy is considered a powerful response to anti-physicalist arguments. This physicalist strategy aims to provide a satisfactory account of dualist intuitions without being committed to ontological dualist conclusions. In this paper I first argue that physicalist accounts of phenomenal concepts fail to explain their cognitive role. Second, I develop an encapsulation account of phenomenal concepts that best explains their particularities. Finally, I argue that the encapsulation account, which features self-representing experiences, implies non-physical referents. Therefore, the account of (...) phenomenal concepts that has strong explanatory power does not explain away dualist intuitions—rather, it reinforces dualism. (shrink)
This paper evaluates an argument according to which many anthropologists commit themselves to Cartesian dualism, when they talk about meanings. This kind of dualism, it is argued, makes it impossible for anthropologists to adequately attend to material artefacts. The argument is very original, but it is also vulnerable to a range of objections.
This paper evaluates a form of dualism, which is referred to here as the dualism of conceptual scheme and undifferentiated reality. According to this dualism, although reality appears to be divided into distinct things from the perspective of our system of concepts, it is actually not. I justify the view that this dualism is incoherent.
In this essay, I outline two contemporary metaphysical accounts of human nature—substance dualism and biological reductionism, also known as “animalism”—by elucidating the views of two representative theorists. I show how these two accounts conceive of death and which criteria for determining death--higher brain, whole-brain, or cardiopulmonary--each advocates. I will then contrast these accounts with Thomas Aquinas’s view of human nature and death.
It is widely held that intuitive dualism—an implicit default mode of thought that takes minds to be separable from bodies and capable of independent existence—is a human universal. Among the findings taken to support universal intuitive dualism is a pattern of evidence in which “psychological” traits (knowledge, desires) are judged more likely to continue after death than bodily or “biological” traits (perceptual, physiological, and bodily states). Here, we present cross-cultural evidence from six study populations, including non-Western societies with (...) diverse belief systems, that shows that while this pattern exists, the overall pattern of responses nonetheless does not support intuitive dualism in afterlife beliefs. Most responses of most participants across all cultures tested were not dualist. While our sample is in no way intended to capture the full range of human societies and afterlife beliefs, it captures a far broader range of cultures than in any prior study, and thus puts the case for afterlife beliefs as evidence for universal intuitive dualism to a strong test. Based on these findings, we suggest that while dualist thinking is a possible mode of thought enabled by evolved human psychology, such thinking does not constitute a default mode of thought. Rather, our data support what we will call intuitive materialism—the view that the underlying intuitive systems for reasoning about minds and death produce as a default judgment that mental states cease to exist with bodily death. (shrink)
Serious doubts about nonreductive materialism — the orthodoxy of the past two decades in philosophy of mind — have been long overdue. Jaegwon Kim has done perhaps the most to articulate the metaphysical problems that the new breed of materialists must confront in reconciling their physicalism with their commitment to the autonomy of the mental. Although the difficulties confronting supervenience, multiple-realizability, and mental causation have been recurring themes in his work, only mental causation — in particular, the specter of epiphenomenalism (...) — has really captured the interest of philosophers in general in recent years.This growing attention has spawned a large body of literature, which it is not our aim here to explore or assess. Rather, we want to call attention to what we believe is a new and quite different argumentative strategy against epiphenomenalism voiced in some recent articles by Tyler Burge and Stephen Yablo. Each has challenged two central assumptions of the existing mental causation debate. (shrink)
"Cartesian Dualism" is a systematic examination of a version of mind-body dualism in light of recent work in the philosophy of mind and the theory of reference. I analyze Descartes' modal argument for dualism and argue that some of the principal objections against dualism are not decisive. The thesis is divided into five sections. ;The first section sets forth the main features of Descartes' ontology and his theory of mind. I defend Descartes' theory of individuation and (...) discuss recent conceptions of physical objects and properties. ;In the second section I argue that there are serious problems facing theories of mind that eliminate a phenomenological first person perspective. I criticize several attempts to analyze inverted spectrum and qualia thought experiments from a functionalist perspective. I also consider recent theories of reference which hold that a person's identification of her psychological state is dependent upon her physical environment and the conventional meaning of words. ;The third section examines several treatments of first person reference that are incompatible with Cartesian dualism. I review work by Malcolm, Anscombe, Kenny, Strawson, and Mackie. ;The fourth section outlines Descartes' arguments for mind-body dualism which appear in his major works and correspondence. I clarify the use of de re and de dicto modality in different versions of the modal argument and formulate that I take to be an at least prima facie plausible version of the argument. ;Section five focuses upon two major objections to dualism. The first is the dualism leads to intractable problems concerning the individuation of persons. The second challenges the dualist interactionist on the basis of an ostensibly plausible principle of causation. It seems that causal relations among particulars derive from relations among the particulars' properties and relations. It is not clear what properties and relations a nonphysical person might instantiate that would account for the causal relations between it and some physical object. I maintain that neither objection is decisive. (shrink)
Contemporary arguments for forms of psycho-physical dualism standardly depart from phenomenal aspects of consciousness. Conceptual aspects of conscious experience, as opposed to phenomenal or visual/perceptual ones, are often taken to be within the scope of functionalist, reductionist, or physicalist theories. I argue that the particular conceptual structure of human consciousness makes this asymmetry unmotivated. The argument for a form of dualism defended here proceeds from the empirical premise that conceptual structure in a linguistic creature like us is a (...) combinatorial and compositional system that implicates a distinction between simple and complex, or 'atomic' and 'molecular' concepts. The argument is that conceptual atoms, qua atoms, are irreducible to anything else. If so, and if the atoms are essentially semantic, a form of dualism follows: though positively inviting naturalistic inquiry into the semantic and mental aspects of nature, it requires that we look at the mental as a primitive domain of nature. Schematically, then, the argument is as follows: Human consciousness/thought is conceptually structured. The human conceptual system is a 'particulate' system at a syntactic and semantic level of representation. This implies the existence of conceptual 'particles', concepts that have no further semantic decomposition. A conceptual atom cannot be explained in terms of anything that does not involve its own intrinsic properties. Physicalism as normally conceived is inconsistent with and. (shrink)
There is an old but still unresolved debate pertaining to the question of Bergsonian monism or dualism. Scholars who think that Bergson is ultimately monist clash with those who claim that he has consistently maintained a dualist position. Others speak of contradiction and point out his failure to reconcile dualism with monism. What feeds on the debate is Bergson’s undeniable change of direction: while his first book is flagrantly dualist, his second book takes a sharp turn toward monism. (...) Without denying the intricacy generated by the change of direction, this paper argues that the originality of his position is overlooked every time that the problem is presented in terms of Bergson being dualist or monist. Notably, it contends that Bergson’s third book, Creative Evolution, overcomes both dualism and monism by removing their contradiction through a durational or slanted approach to Being. (shrink)
This book rightly argues for greater inclusion of the natural and social sciences in the humanities, especially philosophy. The author draws from psychology, especially folk psychology, to show that a basic trait of universal human cognition contains a form of weak dualism. It is a dualism based on the embodied awareness that one’s own thoughts are different from external objects, which generates the belief in a mind/body dualism. The book offers a great deal of evidence that the (...) ancient Chinese embraced a weak mind/body dualism. The author criticizes most philosophers who have proposed a mind/body holism. Because the author admits that correlative thinking is also a function of universal human cognition, I propose that what he refers to as weak mind/body dualism is actually a form of mind/body nondualism. The book cites many examples of how cross-culturally people depict the disembodied spirit in a spiritual-bodily or ghostly-apparition form. The author of this review argues that dualism is another form of the Orientalism that the book wants to avoid, and one way to avoid Orientalism-dualism would be to embrace the correlative, nondual mind/body relationship. (shrink)
n this paper I would like to defend the three interconnected claims. The first one is based on that fact that the definition of substance dualism proposed recently by Dean Zimmerman needs some essential adjustments in order to capture the genuine spirit of this doctrine. In this paper I will formulate the conditions for the genuine substance dualism in contrast to quasi-dualisms and provide the definition for the genuine substance dualism which I consider to be more appropriate (...) than the Zimmerman's one. The second claim is that none of the contemporary forms of substance dualism is able to provide the satisfactory evaluation of the conscious subjectivity. To support this claim I can present two arguments: the first one is against the Cartesian Dualism, and another is against the Emergent Dualism. The third claim, I believe, derives from the two mentioned above: if the dualistic arguments against the ability of physicalist theories to provide the sound account for the unity of a subject of consciousness are persuasive enough, then, in order to acquire the more adequate account of the unity of conscious subject, we should look more closely towards such forms of quasi-dualism as spiritualism or the broad Aristotelian view of human persons. (shrink)
Many philosophers argue that exclusion arguments cannot exclude non-reductionist physicalist mental properties from being causes without excluding properties that are patently causal as well. List and Stoljar (2017) recently argued that a similar response to exclusion arguments is also available to dualists, thereby challenging the predominant view that exclusion arguments undermine dualist theories of mind. In particular, List and Stoljar maintain that exclusion arguments against dualism require a premise that states that, if a property is metaphysically distinct from the (...) sufficient cause of an effect, this property cannot be a cause of that effect. I argue that this premise is indeed likely to exclude patently causal properties, but that exclusion arguments against dualism do not require this premise. The relation that enables metaphysically distinct properties to cause the same effect in the relevant way turns out to be tighter than the relation typically posited between dualist conscious properties and their underlying physical properties. It is therefore still plausible that the latter causally exclude the former and that compelling exclusion arguments against dualism can be formulated by using a weaker exclusion premise. I conclude by proposing such a formulation. (shrink)
1. Consider the basic outlines of the mind-body debate as it is found in contemporary Anglo-American analytic philosophy. The central question is “whether mental phenomena are physical phenomena, and if not, how they relate to physical phenomena.”1 Over the centuries, a wide range of possible solutions to this problem have emerged. These are the various “isms” familiar to any student of the debate: Cartesian dualism, idealism, epiphenomenalism, central state materialism, non- reductive physicalism, anomalous monism, and so forth. Each purports (...) to specify, among other things, the metaphysical relationship between the mental and the physical. They do so by specifying whether, or in what way, mental entities are identical to, reducible to, realized by, supervenient upon, or in causal interaction with physical entities. Thus, a convenient way to survey the range of positions is to enter them in a table. Rows correspond to the major kinds of metaphysical relation which might obtain between mental and physical entities. Each columns corresponds to one of the generic positions available in the debate. The particular theories defended by individual philosophers are usually just specific versions of generic positions. Thus Malebranche’s occasionalism is a version of causal dualism, distinguished by a peculiar account of the way in which causal interaction between mental and physical is actually effected. The central philosophical challenge is to determine which of these positions correctly describes the mental/physical relationship. Positions are evaluated for internal consistency, their fit with “intuitions,” their compatibility with scientific developments, and so forth. The mind-body debate, in this simple form, is set out in any number of. (shrink)
Directed to scholars and senior-level graduate students, this book is an iconoclastic survey of the history of dualism and its impact on contemporary cognitive psychology. It argues that much of modern cognitive or mentalist psychology is built upon a cryptodualism--the idea that the mind and brain can be thought of as independent entities. This dualism pervades so much of society that it covertly influences many aspects of modern science, particularly psychology. To support the argument, the history of (...) class='Hi'>dualism is extended over 100,000 years--from the Paleolithic times until modern philosophical and psychological thinking. The questions regarding this topic that are answered in the book are: 1) Does dualism influence the scientific theories of psychology? 2) If so, should dualism be put aside in the search for a more objective analysis of human mentation? (shrink)
Dualism is the view that mental phenomena are, in some respect, nonphysical. The best-known version is due to Descartes, and holds that the mind is a nonphysical substance. Descartes argued that, because minds have no spatial properties and physical reality is essentially extended in space, minds are wholly nonphysical. Every human being is accordingly a composite of two objects: a physical body, and a nonphysical object that is that human being's mind. On a weaker version of dualism, which (...) contemporary thinkers find more acceptable, human beings are physical substances but have mental properties, and those properties aren't physical. This view is known as property dualism, or the dual-aspect theory. (shrink)
This article discusses the way in which a group of contemporary cultural theorists in whose work we see a “new materialism” (a term coined by Braidotti and DeLanda) at work constitutes a philosophy of difference by traversing the dualisms that form the backbone of modernist thought. Continuing the ideas of Lyotard and Deleuze they have set themselves to a rewriting of all possible forms of emancipation that are to be found. This rewriting exercise involves a movement in thought that, in (...) the words of Bergson, can be termed “pushing dualism to an extreme.” By this movement, Deleuze has stated, “difference is pushed to the limit,” that is, using Colebrook’s words, “difference is shown differing.” The article addresses the ways in which modernity’s dualisms (structured by a negative relation between terms) are traversed, and how a new conceptualization, and ontology , of difference (structured by an affirmative relation) comes to be constituted along the way. New materialism leaves behind all prioritizations (implicitly) involved in modern dualist thinking since a difference structured by affirmation does not work with predetermined relations (e.g., between mind and body) nor does it involve a (counter-)hierarchy between terms. The article makes explicit the methodology of the current-day rise of non-dualist thought, both in terms of its non-classificatory mode of (Deleuzian) thinking and in terms of the theory of the time of thought thus effectuated (Lyotard’s notion of ‘rewriting modernity’ is not a post-modernism). Throughout the article we will engage with an example in order to demonstrate the ontology that is being practiced following this methodology: How does a new (feminist) materialism traverse the sexual dualisms that structure modernist (feminist) thinking? This example also shows how a feminist post-modernism (found in the canonical work of Butler) has remained dualist, and what makes new materialism “new.” Freed from a dualist methodology, the modernist emancipatory project comes to full fruition in new materialism. (shrink)
In a number of places, Richard Swinburne has defended the logical possibility of perception without a body; and has inferred from this logical possibility that substance dualism is true. I challenge his defence of disembodied perception by arguing that a disembodied perceiver would not be able to distinguish between perceptions and hallucinations. I then claim that even if disembodied perception were possible, this could not be used to support substance dualism: such an inference would be either invalid or (...) question-begging. (shrink)
Problem: A dualistic position faces considerable problems as Mitterer, inter alia, clearly pointed out. Mitterer not only wants to name these problems, but to provide a genuine alternative with his non-dualism. However, this non-dualistic alternative also contains severe problems. Thus this text suggests preferring Wittgenstein's concept of a pragmatic investigation of language-games to Mitterer's non-dualism in order to tackle the problems of dualism. Solution: With recourse to Wittgenstein's pragmatic investigation of language-games, a fundamental problem of dualism (...) can be solved. With the concept of certainty, Wittgenstein succeeds in avoiding an ontological grounding in an independent world -- or, as Mitterer would put it, the assumption of a "beyond of discourse." At the same time, the assumption of an independent world as a concept that provides a basis for our language-games is maintained on an epistemological level. This assumption, however, is not maintained as a phenomenon that requires to be substantiated but as a certainty that is constitutive for language-games and does not need to be substantiated. Such a concept is suitable for preventing epistemological operations such as knowledge, doubt, giving reasons, etc., from being made void, without having to provide an ontological basis for them. Implications: Wittgenstein's point of view therefore provides an attractive alternative to Mitterer's non-dualism. By getting rid of the "beyond of discourse," Mitterer's non-dualism faces the problem of not being able to explain how we can manage to understand epistemological operations within our language-games without referring to a "beyond of discourse." From this point of view arises the consequence that it would make sense to analyze language-games from a pragmatic standpoint rather than to keep on honing non-dualistic vocabulary. (shrink)
Cartesian dualism has been viewed by medical theorists to be oneof the chief causes of a reductionist/mechanistic treatment ofthe patient. Although I aver that Cartesian dualism is one culprit for the misapprehension of the genuine treatment of patients in termsof both mind and body, I argue that interactive dualism whichstresses the interaction of mind and body is essential to treatpatients with dignity and compassion. Thus, adequate medical carethat is humanistic in nature is difficult (if not impossible)to achieve (...) without physicians adhering to a dualistic frameworkin which the body and person is treated during illness. (shrink)
It is argued in this paper that a greater understanding of dualism is needed to secure the future of humanism and of humanity. Its study consists in understanding the extremes of opinion and attitude to which we are all prone and which pervade every aspect of our society. These extremes are even today impeding our future and threatening to plunge the world into internecine struggles between factions competing for power and pre-eminence. The fruitless conflicts, wars and divisions caused by (...) extremism will only be avoided when a dualist view is adopted that makes the ‘either-for-us-or-against-us’ mentality universally unacceptable. The dualist view also helps us to deal with situations that demand insight more than logic. A distinction is made here between naïve and systematic dualism in which the former refers to confused and muddled thinking whereas the latter involves organized and purposeful thinking to deal systematically with confusing and conflicting situations. There is a spectrum between naïve dualism at one extreme and absolute monism at the other extreme. Most of us, most of the time, are systematic dualists subsisting somewhere in the middle. Our future is constantly threatened by those few people who have one answer to everything and are intolerant of other views. If the dualist view becomes prevalent they may learn to think differently. Humanism is distinct from religion in being essentially dualist in its outlook and in being prepared to countenance alternative views. The further development of the dualist view therefore strengthens humanism against its monist enemies who are looking for certainty and easy solutions. (shrink)
Dualistic interpretations attempt to solve the measurement problem of quantum mechanics by postulating the existence of non-physical minds, and by giving a suitable dynamical equation for how these minds evolve. I consider the relative merits of three extant dualistic interpretations, and I defend Squires’ interpretation as preferable to the Albert/ Loewer interpretations. I also argue that, for all three of these interpretations, the minds evolve independently of the physical universe, and hence render the physical universe otiose; the interpretations are better (...) viewed as supporting not dualism, but mental monism. (shrink)
Philosophers.all too often think that statements about human bodily movements are basic and unproblematic. It is argued here that just the opposite is the case: with human beings action descriptions are the basic ones and bodily movement descriptions are the problematic ones. They are problematic because they are the offspring of the Cartesian dualist's notion of a human body as something ?conceptually separable? from anything mental, a notion which in fact is wholly empty. This claim is supported by examining three (...) proposed methods for coming up with descriptions of such a body ? by looking to commonplace bodily movement statements, to a scientist's statements about bodies in motion, and to the results of a philosophical thought?experiment. All these methods fail to pick out a conceptually separable component of a human being. Philosophical bodily movement talk, it is concluded, is vacuous, for nothing about a human being provides a referent for it. (shrink)
Discusses the placebo concept and its purported concealment of a philosophical trap related to Cartesian dualism. The author points out that in discussing the placebo concept there is a temptation to say, in effect, that there is the body, which is a physiological system on which drugs and other medical treatments are supposed to operate, and there is the mind, which can be affected by suggestion to produce a spurious effect. Within this context, the author discusses the notion of (...) pain; on the materialist assumption it is illogical to make a distinction between "functional" and "real" pain. Al pain is real; only the mechanism by which it is produced differs. It is noted, however, that doctors often perceive the 2 types of pain differently. A similar difference in perception, the author believes, affects how they talk about the placebo phenomenon. It is often said in medicine that pharmacological effects are "real" whereas placebo effects are "merely psychological." Indeed, the author points out, the ghost has not yet been fully exorcised from the machine, despite the implicit assumption in medicine that materialism, rather than dualism, is true. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved). (shrink)
To the extent that dualism is even taken to be a serious option in contemporary discussions of personal identity and the philosophy of mind, it is almost exclusively either Cartesian dualism or property dualism that is considered. The more traditional dualism defended by Aristotelians and Thomists, what I call hylemorphic dualism, has only received scattered attention. In this essay I set out the main lines of the hylemorphic dualist position, with particular reference to personal identity. (...) First I argue that overemphasis of the problem of consciousness has had an unhealthy effect on recent debate, claiming instead that we should emphasize the concept of form. Then I bring in the concept of identity by means of the notion of substantial form. I continue by analyzing the relation between form and matter, defending the traditional theses of prime matter and of the unicity of substantial form. I then argue for the immateriality of the substantial form of the human person, viz. the soul, from an account of the human intellect. From this follows the soul's essential independence of matter. Finally, although the soul is the immaterial bearer of personal identity, that identity is still the identity of an essentially embodied being. I explain how these ideas are to be reconciled. Footnotesa I am grateful to Stephen Braude, John Cottingham, John Haldane, David Jehle, Joel Katzav, Eduardo Ortiz, and Fred Sommers for helpful comments and discussion of a draft of this essay. I would also like to thank Ellen Paul, whose suggestions have helped greatly to improve the essay's style and content. (shrink)
Abstract In Causing Actions, Pietroski defends a distinctive view of the relationship between mind and body which he calls Personal Dualism. Central to his defence is the Argument from Differential Vagueness. It moves from the claim that mental events have different vagueness of spatiotemporal boundaries from neural events to the claim that mental events are not identical to neural events. In response, I argue that this presupposes an ontological account of vagueness that there is no reason to believe in (...) this context. I further argue that Pietroski's reasons for rejecting the possibility that mental events are vaguely constituted from neural events are inadequate. I go on to show how Pietroski's Personal Dualism is ill-equipped to deal with the problem of mental causation because of its apparently necessary appeal to ceteris paribus laws. (shrink)
summaryThis paper argues that an epistemological duality between mind/brain and an external world is an uncritically held working assumption in recent computational models of cognition. In fact, epistemological dualism largely drives computational models of mentality and representation: An assumption regarding an external world of perceptual objects and distal stimuli requires the sort of mind/brain capable of representing and inferring true accounts of such objects. Hence we have two distinct ontologies, one denoting external world objects, the other cognitive events and (...) neural transformations. A basic question is then raised and explored: If the elements of these two different ontologies are so radically different, how can the one access the other?The last part of the paper sketches an alternative to ED and the associated two ontologies account. Instead of external world objects being construed as independent givens, initiating perceptual processes, they are rather interpreted as ‘computational constructs’. It is argued at length that this account is far more consistent with recent computational models of mind/brain than the two ontologies model associated with ED. It is further claimed that an ontology of cognitive and neural states, as well as an external world ontology, have no other epistemic status that as contingent working hypotheses. As such, both ontologies are in principle amenable to revision as evidence, explanatory models, and scientific practices mutually readjust and redefine one another over time. (shrink)