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I believe that the popular or "ghost in the machine" form of substance
dualism best solves the mind body problem. My views in this area have been
influenced by my twelve years of Catholic education. The soul, or mind,
depending on your level of belief, was a complete and separate entity and was
the center of a human being. The body was an ambulatory device that the soul
directed. The idea that the mind is a separate entity and that it is independent
of the physical body is the central point of substance dualism. Churchland
explains that substance dualism claims that the mind is a distinct nonphysical
thing, a complete nonphysical entity that is independent of any physical body to
which it is temporarily attached. Any and all mental states and activities, as
well as physical ones, originate from this unique entity. Substance dualism
states that the real essence of you has nothing to do with your physical body,
but rather from the distinct nonphysical entity of the mind. The mind is in
constant interaction with the body. The body's sense organs create experiences
in the mind. The desires and decisions of the mind cause the body to act in
certain ways. This is what makes each mind's body its own. The popular or
"ghost in the machine" form of substance dualism states that a person
is a "ghost in a machine", the ghost being the mind or spirit and the
machine is the body. Within this description, the mind/spirit controls the body
and is in intimate contact with the brain. The brain would be the nexus between
the mind and body. The popular form of substance dualism was adopted after the
difficulties of Cartesian dualism could not be overcome. Rene Descartes stated
that the nonphysical and the physical could not interact. This became a problem
in dualism since the nonphysical mind needed to interact with the physical body.
These difficulties provided a motive for the move to popular substance dualism.
The first major argument for substance dualism is religion. Each of the major
religions place belief in life after death that there is an immortal soul that
will survive death. This very closely resembles substance dualism. The mind can
be substituted for the immortal soul. In fact the two are almost
interchangeable. This argument is primarily the basis for my own belief in
substance dualism. My personal experiences as a religion student give me insight
into this argument. The second major argument for substance dualism is
irreducibility. This points to a variety of mental phenomena that no physical
explanation could account for what is going on. An example would be the quality
and meaningful content of human thoughts and beliefs. These things cannot be
reduced to purely physical terms, hence irreducibility. This is also another
good argument that I can understand from personal experiences. I cannot reduce
my reactions and feelings toward how a steak tastes to a mathematical equation.
This is the same idea. The final argument for substance dualism is
parapsychological phenomena. Mental powers such as telepathy, precognition,
telekinesis, and clairvoyance are all near impossible to explain within the
boundaries of physics and psychology. These phenomena reflect the nonphysical
and supernatural nature that dualism gives to the mind. Because I believe in
these phenomena, it seems logical to me that parapsychology is an excellent
argument for substance dualism. These arguments give a good basis for a
philosopher to believe in substance dualism. However there are also serious
arguments against it. The first major argument against dualism is simplicity.
Materialists state that because their view is simpler (they only believe in one
thing- that which is physical) it is more rational to subscribe to their view.
The materialist point of view is also easier to prove because there is no doubt
that physical matter exists, while nonphysical matter is currently a hypothesis.
This argument seems very illogical to me. Philosophical views should be chosen
because one makes more sense to you, not because one has a smaller number of
ideas within it. The second major argument against substance dualism is
explanatory impotence. Materialists can explain anything physical through
scientific study, whereas dualists can explain nothing because no theory has
ever been formulated. Churchland says, "...dualism is less a theory of mind
than it is an empty space waiting for a genuine theory of mind to be put
in". I see one flaw with the materialist theory here. The mind in the
dualist theory may use a form of energy transfer not yet discovered by science.
Centuries ago, undiscovered ... more
Find essay on Rene Descartes
What I Need
DESCARTE: SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE
Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher believed that the origin of knowledge comes from within the mind, a single indisputable fact to build on that can be gained through individual reflection. His Discourse on Method (1637) and Meditations (1641) contain his important philosophical theories. Intending to extend mathematical method to all areas of human knowledge, Descartes discarded the authoritarian systems of the scholastic philosophers and began with universal doubt. Only one thing cannot be doubted: doubt itself. Therefore, the doubter must exist. This is the kernel of his famous assertion Cogito, ergo sum (I am thinking, therefore I am existing). From this certainty Descartes expanded knowledge, step by step, to admit the existence of God (as the first cause) and the reality of the physical world, which he held to be mechanistic and entirely divorced from the mind; the only connection between the two is the intervention of God.
In the first meditation he casts doubt on the previous foundations of knowledge and everything he has learned or assumed. He stated "But reason now persuades me that I should withhold assent no less carefully from opinions that are not completely certain and indubitable than I would from those that are patently false." In order to evaluate and discern what is actually true he divides the foundations of knowledge into three sources: the senses, reality, and context.
In the second meditation he has found one true fact, "I think, therefore I am". Descartes then attempts to discover what this "I" is and how it perceives reality. The "I" is a body, a soul, and a thinking thing. It gains perception and recognition through the senses, the imagination, and the mind. He runs into two major problems in these meditations. The first was the existence of reality. The second is the connection between body and mind as he defines them.
Descartes is clearing away all knowledge that can be called into doubt. By doing this he hopes to create something real and lasting in the sciences, a foundation to build on. This indisputable fact will become the starting point or origin of all other true knowledge he can build upon it. He starts the first argument by attacking the very beginning of knowledge, human senses. Descartes states, "Surely whatever I had admitted until now as most true I received either from the senses or through the senses." Anyone will admit that their senses have deceived them at least once. According to Descartes it is a mark of prudence never to place our complete trust in those who have deceived us even once. However, something seen from a distance is much more easily mistaken than something seen up close. The senses show us some things more clearly than others.
Descartes then compares the average mind to that of the insane. Insanity, he defines as those who doubt what is obvious to the senses. From this perspective we must give our senses some credit, otherwise we could not function in reality. At this point Descartes questions how we can know that the reality we perceive is true. He likens it dreaming "How often does my evening slumber persuade me of such ordinary things as these: that I am here, clothed in my dressing gown, seated next to the fireplace-when in fact I am lying undressed in bed!" Stated in premise form it is shown as follows:
There is no way to distinguish between being awake and asleep. Perhaps, even now we are dreaming, this not my body, and I am not writing this paper for philosophy but I am really lying in bed somewhere sleeping. However, dreams are based on reality. Whether this hand is real or dreamed, it is my hand, and it exists somewhere. Also, certain things are true in any context. Two plus three equals five and in no context can it be said to be untrue. The power to distinguish cannot be called into doubt as long as we hold that there is a reality whether we perceive it or not. This brings up the question, does there exist a true reality. Assuming that there is a God, he is all powerful, and created this ... more
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R: Discuss The Extent To Which Descartes Has Overcome
Discuss The Extent To Which Descartes Has Overcome His Doubts Of The F Discuss the extent to which Descartes has overcome his doubts of the first Meditations In Descartes meditations, Descartes begins what Bernard Williams has called the project of pure enquiry to discover an indubitable premise or foundation to base his knowledge on, by subjecting everything to a kind of scepticism now known as Cartesian doubt. This is known as foundationalism, where a philosopher basis all epistemolog...
Dualism I believe that the popular or ghost in the machine form of substance dualism best solves the mind body problem. My views in this area have been influenced by my twelve years of Catholic education. The soul, or mind, depending on your level of belief, was a complete and separate entity and was the center of a human being. The body was an ambulatory device that the soul directed. The idea that the mind is a separate entity and that it is independent of the physical body is the central poin...
N: What I Need
What I Need DESCARTE: SOURCE OF KNOWLEDGE Rene Descartes, a 17th century French philosopher believed that the origin of knowledge comes from within the mind, a single indisputable fact to build on that can be gained through individual reflection. His Discourse on Method (1637) and Meditations (1641) contain his important philosophical theories. Intending to extend mathematical method to all areas of human knowledge, Descartes discarded the authoritarian systems of the scholastic philosophers and...
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T: No title
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S: Hume And Descartes On The Theory Of Ideas
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Does a tree have colour
does a tree have colour The idea of sound will be investigated in the following essay. Is there sound in the world and if a tree falls in the forest and there is no body around does it actually make a noise? These ideas will be followed by the theory of colour. Individuals think they see colour, so people believe there is colour in the world and do not even think twice about the issue. Still, some philosophers have presented ideas about the world with no colour. Is this theory plausible? Follo...