Mind And Body Dualism Philosophy Essay

1396 words (6 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 Philosophy Reference this

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Mind and Body problem has remained mystery for ages and maybe, it shall remain forever because there is no real answer to this problem; one can either believe it scientifically or one can believe religiously, both are distinct in their own arguments. This paper should provide enough evidence for the differences between the Mind and the Body by favouring the Cartesian Dualism thesis. Cartesian dualism backs up Rene Descartes mind-body problem in the second and sixth meditations. Dualism backs up Descartes by stating that the human person is made of two different substances called a Mind and a Body, which are different in their own special areas. Also, minds are many different kinds from bodies and therefore, none of the minds are identical with the bodies (Kim, 32). While Descartes was confused with a question “What am I?” Descartes brings up a good answer, “I am a thinking thing” (Kim 33). He answered this question with the help of a doubt of him having a body; so, he is a material thing and he could not doubt of being a thinking being. When the mind and body are distinct from each other; the mind could also exist without the body because the body is not essential for what we are. Moreover, the mind is unextended and indivisible and the body is extended and divisible; this is why they are distinct in nature. Although the distinct mind and body thinking of Descartes, he also admitted that they are in casual interaction with each other making a union. However, if the mind and body are distinct, then how and why do we feel pain, pleasure and other sensations? The capacity for creating an experience, thoughts, memories, functions and other mental events shall be with the soul (mind in other words) but not with the biological organism of the body. I will be talking about this question and arguments later on the paper, but let us first talk about how Dualism and the qualitative identity comes together for this essential argument of mind and body being two distinct substances. The knowledge of qualitative identity makes more sense for dualism because as per qualitative identity – mind and body are qualitatively identical if and only if they share all properties. Mind and body does not share all properties with each other. However, they share most of them but they lack at least few of them. For example, mind and body are different in their qualitative identities as being three dimensional biological organisms; brain is a biological organ and we can see it but when it comes to mind, we cannot see it neither it is a biological organ. The question for this paper is to show the connection between the Cartesian dualism and the qualitative identity theory by using them to see connection between the theories and the perception of looking at a house and the sense of feeling pain by touching the hot stove and psychological experience of pain.

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When there is a sensation of looking at a house, the body cannot make that event as an experience with the help of three dimensional biological organisms. Mind and body are not qualitatively identical because they do not share all the properties they have. In my opinion, they are both related to each other in mental events but still they are distinct physically. They both send information to each other but yet we cannot experience the mind as we do brain. As we see the house, we have a visual perception of house and from our knowledge we can say that brain saw it and replied it is a house but how did the brain know it is a house. Same goes with the sensation of getting burned, when a small kid put their hand on a hot stove they will get burned and take their hand off immediately and next time they will not touch the hot stove again. When the small kid touched the hot stove, the neurons passed the message to brain that the skin is touched with hot object so it replies to take the hand off and the kid does and now, the small kid have a memory of the event. The memory of the event is touching a hot stove which can burn him, so do not touch again. The question comes, how does the changing of few chemicals in the ion channels can create an experience, a memory for the kid to not touch the stove again? Here we can see that the brain is reacting just based on chemicals but then chemicals cannot create a memory for a small kid. Therefore, the mind is the one taking information and creating a memory, an experience for a small kid and gives it back to brain when same event is just about to occur, so that the small kid will not repeat the mistake of touching the hot stove. Also, when our eyes have an image of looking at a house our brains describes it as house because of some chemical exchanges in the pathway for sending house image to the back of the brain and bringing back to the eyes. In this case, again the mind is controlling over the brain, so that it can send the right information at the right time of having an experience of looking at a house. This folk psycho-neurological explanation can be supported by an Epistemological argument, “The thinking thing I am is not identical with my body” (Kim, 34). As per the argument and the explanation of the event we can see that brain is not identical with the functions of the mind. However, they are connected to each other but in their functions they are distinct with each other. Also, the Leibniz’s Law can be used to back this argument, that if X has a property that Y lacks (or Vice Versa) then X and Y are distinct substances (from lecture notes). We can clearly see that the brain lacks the property to create a memory or an experience based on the chemical changes in the ion channel and which is completed by the mind. Therefore, mind and body are distinct substances. In the argument; As per Descartes, the thinking thing means mental activity and specific mental states (Kim, 34). Mind can feel the pain the body is sensing and reacts accordingly but when body senses the pain, it can only send information to brain and back to the area where the pain is being sense but it cannot make small kid raise the hand from hot stove. The small kid raising hand from hot stove or an individual looking at house are the experiences which are only supported with the mind to justify the event. Also, the qualitative identity looks to be true because as person can experience the presence of body during the pain period but they cannot experience the presence of mind. What color is the experience or memory? How much does an experience or memory weigh? How tall or short or how fat or skinny is the pain? Precisely where in space and time is pain located? What is the temperature of a pain? What is the speed of a pain? When there are no qualitative answers to the event pain above, then it shall be perfectly fine to say that mind and brain are distinct. Mind and body are qualitatively distinct because the mind is unextended and indivisible and the body is extended and divisible, as described above.

In the conclusion, throughout the paper I have described the psychological events to Cartesian dualism thesis, Rene Descartes’ mind-brain problem and Qualitative Identity Theory, which helps one to understand why mind and the brain are distinct. The connection between the Cartesian Dualism and the Qualitative Identity Theory has been successfully stated with discussing psychological experiences, such as, the perception of looking at a house and the sense of feeling pain by touching the hot stove. For further arguments, another argument which can be made is that our minds and bodies are distinct because our bodies do not have a free will. an event that can given can be a person driving a vehicle. In this event their all body parts are doing different functions at same time. For example, hands on steering wheel, legs on break and accelerator, eyes looking at front and back side, and ears listening to horns and sirens and people shouting at them for stopping for long time on a signal. One can argue about this event comparing with our body having no free while this event is occurring. However, thought the arguments criticisms and explanation of theories and thesis using the folk psychological explanation of a particular behaviour and event; it is claimed that the mind (soul) and the body are two distinct substances.

Mind and Body problem has remained mystery for ages and maybe, it shall remain forever because there is no real answer to this problem; one can either believe it scientifically or one can believe religiously, both are distinct in their own arguments. This paper should provide enough evidence for the differences between the Mind and the Body by favouring the Cartesian Dualism thesis. Cartesian dualism backs up Rene Descartes mind-body problem in the second and sixth meditations. Dualism backs up Descartes by stating that the human person is made of two different substances called a Mind and a Body, which are different in their own special areas. Also, minds are many different kinds from bodies and therefore, none of the minds are identical with the bodies (Kim, 32). While Descartes was confused with a question “What am I?” Descartes brings up a good answer, “I am a thinking thing” (Kim 33). He answered this question with the help of a doubt of him having a body; so, he is a material thing and he could not doubt of being a thinking being. When the mind and body are distinct from each other; the mind could also exist without the body because the body is not essential for what we are. Moreover, the mind is unextended and indivisible and the body is extended and divisible; this is why they are distinct in nature. Although the distinct mind and body thinking of Descartes, he also admitted that they are in casual interaction with each other making a union. However, if the mind and body are distinct, then how and why do we feel pain, pleasure and other sensations? The capacity for creating an experience, thoughts, memories, functions and other mental events shall be with the soul (mind in other words) but not with the biological organism of the body. I will be talking about this question and arguments later on the paper, but let us first talk about how Dualism and the qualitative identity comes together for this essential argument of mind and body being two distinct substances. The knowledge of qualitative identity makes more sense for dualism because as per qualitative identity – mind and body are qualitatively identical if and only if they share all properties. Mind and body does not share all properties with each other. However, they share most of them but they lack at least few of them. For example, mind and body are different in their qualitative identities as being three dimensional biological organisms; brain is a biological organ and we can see it but when it comes to mind, we cannot see it neither it is a biological organ. The question for this paper is to show the connection between the Cartesian dualism and the qualitative identity theory by using them to see connection between the theories and the perception of looking at a house and the sense of feeling pain by touching the hot stove and psychological experience of pain.

When there is a sensation of looking at a house, the body cannot make that event as an experience with the help of three dimensional biological organisms. Mind and body are not qualitatively identical because they do not share all the properties they have. In my opinion, they are both related to each other in mental events but still they are distinct physically. They both send information to each other but yet we cannot experience the mind as we do brain. As we see the house, we have a visual perception of house and from our knowledge we can say that brain saw it and replied it is a house but how did the brain know it is a house. Same goes with the sensation of getting burned, when a small kid put their hand on a hot stove they will get burned and take their hand off immediately and next time they will not touch the hot stove again. When the small kid touched the hot stove, the neurons passed the message to brain that the skin is touched with hot object so it replies to take the hand off and the kid does and now, the small kid have a memory of the event. The memory of the event is touching a hot stove which can burn him, so do not touch again. The question comes, how does the changing of few chemicals in the ion channels can create an experience, a memory for the kid to not touch the stove again? Here we can see that the brain is reacting just based on chemicals but then chemicals cannot create a memory for a small kid. Therefore, the mind is the one taking information and creating a memory, an experience for a small kid and gives it back to brain when same event is just about to occur, so that the small kid will not repeat the mistake of touching the hot stove. Also, when our eyes have an image of looking at a house our brains describes it as house because of some chemical exchanges in the pathway for sending house image to the back of the brain and bringing back to the eyes. In this case, again the mind is controlling over the brain, so that it can send the right information at the right time of having an experience of looking at a house. This folk psycho-neurological explanation can be supported by an Epistemological argument, “The thinking thing I am is not identical with my body” (Kim, 34). As per the argument and the explanation of the event we can see that brain is not identical with the functions of the mind. However, they are connected to each other but in their functions they are distinct with each other. Also, the Leibniz’s Law can be used to back this argument, that if X has a property that Y lacks (or Vice Versa) then X and Y are distinct substances (from lecture notes). We can clearly see that the brain lacks the property to create a memory or an experience based on the chemical changes in the ion channel and which is completed by the mind. Therefore, mind and body are distinct substances. In the argument; As per Descartes, the thinking thing means mental activity and specific mental states (Kim, 34). Mind can feel the pain the body is sensing and reacts accordingly but when body senses the pain, it can only send information to brain and back to the area where the pain is being sense but it cannot make small kid raise the hand from hot stove. The small kid raising hand from hot stove or an individual looking at house are the experiences which are only supported with the mind to justify the event. Also, the qualitative identity looks to be true because as person can experience the presence of body during the pain period but they cannot experience the presence of mind. What color is the experience or memory? How much does an experience or memory weigh? How tall or short or how fat or skinny is the pain? Precisely where in space and time is pain located? What is the temperature of a pain? What is the speed of a pain? When there are no qualitative answers to the event pain above, then it shall be perfectly fine to say that mind and brain are distinct. Mind and body are qualitatively distinct because the mind is unextended and indivisible and the body is extended and divisible, as described above.

In the conclusion, throughout the paper I have described the psychological events to Cartesian dualism thesis, Rene Descartes’ mind-brain problem and Qualitative Identity Theory, which helps one to understand why mind and the brain are distinct. The connection between the Cartesian Dualism and the Qualitative Identity Theory has been successfully stated with discussing psychological experiences, such as, the perception of looking at a house and the sense of feeling pain by touching the hot stove. For further arguments, another argument which can be made is that our minds and bodies are distinct because our bodies do not have a free will. an event that can given can be a person driving a vehicle. In this event their all body parts are doing different functions at same time. For example, hands on steering wheel, legs on break and accelerator, eyes looking at front and back side, and ears listening to horns and sirens and people shouting at them for stopping for long time on a signal. One can argue about this event comparing with our body having no free while this event is occurring. However, thought the arguments criticisms and explanation of theories and thesis using the folk psychological explanation of a particular behaviour and event; it is claimed that the mind (soul) and the body are two distinct substances.

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