Essay about Descartes ' Argument On Substance Dualism

Essay about Descartes ' Argument On Substance Dualism

Length: 785 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

This paper will be discussing René Descartes’ argument on substance dualism, and more specifically the argument of separation of the mind and the body. Descartes proposes the argument of substance dualism in defense of the view that there are two types of substances: the mental substance and the physical substance. Therefore, substance dualism also states that the mind is a mental substance which is separate from the body, despite both having a connection to each other. This view is in contrast to the more popular physicalist view, which states that all entities in the world are solely physical.
In this essay, I will argue that Descartes’ argument that attempts to call into question the physical is unsound. The reasoning behind Descartes’ argument lies in his sixth meditation, which states that (a) The mind is understood to be indivisible, (b) The body is understood to be divisible, so therefore, (c) The mind must be different from the body (Descartes 52-57). I will be arguing for this view of the separation of body and mind, and in conclusion, I will provide a counter-argument to Descartes’ proposal.
This argument, which argues for the belief that substance dualism is in fact true, is called the mind-body separation argument. This argument revolves around the following train of thought: (a) Due to the assumption that the mind is an immaterial thing simply by the nature of the mind, we can safely assume that the mind is an indivisible thing, (b) Due to the assumption about the physical nature of the body, we can safely assume that the body is a divisible thing, and therefore, (c) the mind and the body must be separate entities. Descartes fails to explain in detail his logical explanations to prove (a) and (b) to be true, because o...

... middle of paper ...

...e, it is possible that the mind and the body can interact with each other. Another counter-argument is a very simple one: it is inherently incorrect to question the nature of how the mind and the body are connected, because it is a given event that will always take place, given that a mind and body exists to be joined together. This argument is also given by Descartes in his response to Princess Elizabeth’s argument concerning the mind-body problem. Both of these points suffice as a counterpoint to the criticism of this mind-body problem.
This essay has established the argument of substance dualism that Descartes employs, namely the divisibility argument of the mind and the body. Despite critiques of this arguments that call into question the nature of mind-body correlation, there is still a sound argument for the stance that the mind is truly separate from the body.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Descartes 's Theory Of Substance Dualism Essay

- According to René Descartes, substance dualism is a dual particular kind of matter that has two kinds of properties. In this case, the two kinds of properties are mental properties and physical properties of human beings. The mental properties are the thoughts of an individual and the physical properties are the extension in space. Descartes explains that a person is not identical to a body; a person can exist without a body because it is not a body. Henceforth, Descartes claims that substance dualism is true....   [tags: Mind, Ontology, Argument, Fertilisation]

Better Essays
1347 words (3.8 pages)

The Argument of Dualism Essay

- Arguments of Dualism Dualism is the theory that mind and matter are two distinct things. The main argument for dualism is that facts about the objective external world of particles and fields of force, as revealed by modern physical science, are not facts about how things appear from any particular point of view, whereas facts about subjective experience are precisely about how things are from the point of view of individual conscious subjects. They have to be described in the first person as well as in the third person....   [tags: Dualism Essays]

Better Essays
1030 words (2.9 pages)

Essay about The Between Substance Dualism And Dualism

- In this paper, I will explain and argue for two-way interactive substance dualism. Dualism is a term referred to the idea that there are only two basic kinds of things and everything real is categorized under those two things. Dualism is split into two types, substance dualism, and property dualism. Substance dualism is the idea that the mind and body are two different sorts of basic substance, whereas property dualism is our mental and physical properties are two separate types of basic properties even though they may be properties of the same thing (lecture)....   [tags: Philosophy of mind, Mind, Dualism, Brain]

Better Essays
1311 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Rene Descartes: Cartesian Dualism

- Descartian dualism is one of the most long lasting legacies of Rene Descartes’ philosophy. He argues that the mind and body operate as separate entities able to exist without one another. That is, the mind is a thinking, non-extended entity and the body is non-thinking and extended. His belief elicited a debate over the nature of the mind and body that has spanned centuries, a debate that is still vociferously argued today. In this essay, I will try and tackle Descartes claim and come to some conclusion as to whether Descartes is correct to say that the mind and body are distinct....   [tags: Cartesian Dualism, Mind-Body Problem]

Better Essays
1632 words (4.7 pages)

Essay about The Descartes ' Theory Of Substance Dualism

- In this essay, I plan to defend Descartes ' theory of Substance Dualism against the objection made by Princess Elizabeth. Substance Dualism is theory which states that there are two fundamental substances, mind and body. Princess Elizabeth 's objection against Substance Dualism is based off of her idea of how the mind and body interact in order for mental causation to occur. I defend Descartes 's theory by offering my own objection against Princess Elizabeth 's idea of what causation is. Descartes ' theory of Substance Dualism states that there are two fundamental substances, mind, and body....   [tags: Philosophy of mind, Mind, Ontology, Soul]

Better Essays
1096 words (3.1 pages)

Heidegger's Reading of Descartes' Dualism Essay

- Heidegger's Reading of Descartes' Dualism ABSTRACT: The problem of traditional epistemology is the relation of subject to external world. The distinction between subject and object makes possible the distinction between the knower and what is known. Starting with Descartes, the subject is a thinking thing that is not extended, and the object is an extended thing which does not think. Heidegger rejects this distinction between subject and object by arguing that there is no subject distinct from the external world of things because Dasein is essentially Being-in-the-world....   [tags: Dualism Essays]

Better Essays
4349 words (12.4 pages)

Cartesian Dualism and Gilbert Ryle Essay

- This essay will define Cartesian dualism, explain and critically evaluate Gilbert Ryle’s response to Cartesian dualism in his article, “Descartes’ Myth” and support Ryle’s argument on Descartes’ substance dualism. Cartesian dualism is a type of mind-body dualism formulated by the infamous Rene Descartes (1596-1650). Descartes’ dualism is about entities: he states there are two distinct kinds of entities, bodies and minds (1). All objects that exist or can exist belong to one of these categories....   [tags: descartes, the concept of mind]

Better Essays
1031 words (2.9 pages)

Dualism On The Concept Of Self Essay

- Dualism on the Concept of Self A commonly discussed issue in philosophy is the problem of self. The concept of the self suggest that the self is a single unit, disconnected from other selves, and unique to each individual in terms of hopes, desires, beliefs, and so on (Rounder, 76). Searle introduces questions of the self through a series of examples, laying out a general question of how we may still identify with the same essence of self despite physical changes taking place within our bodies....   [tags: Philosophy of mind, Mind, Dualism, Brain]

Better Essays
1148 words (3.3 pages)

Cartesian Dualism and Gilbert Ryle Essay

- Over the years, many philosophers have tried to answer the elusive mind-body problem. There has been a wide range of approaches to comprehend this matter, but perhaps none as renowned as Cartesian dualism. This theory, proposed by René Descartes in the early seventeenth century, is still central to modern metaphysical discourse. His teachings through the Meditations have been both revered and scrutinized, and still have withstood many other’s attempts to disprove them. One of his biggest critics of the twentieth century was Gilbert Ryle....   [tags: Cartesian Dualism, Mind-Body Problem]

Better Essays
1569 words (4.5 pages)

The Concept of Dualism Essay examples

- 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....   [tags: Dualism Essays]

Better Essays
1005 words (2.9 pages)