Essay on Descartes´ Mental and Physical Substances

Essay on Descartes´ Mental and Physical Substances

Length: 1292 words (3.7 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

When Descartes published his ideas in his Meditations on First Philosophy, his ideas were not new, but nonetheless groundbreaking. He proposed there were two separate types of matter or stuff that can exist independent of each other. These are physical substances and mental substances. The physical can only occupy space in the real world, and cannot do any of the things we attribute to mental faculties, such as thinking and reasoning. Though the mental cannot be present in the material world, it can surely have an effect on what the physical body does. Substance dualism, therefore, gives way to the idea of an immortal soul that occupies a different realm than our physical bodies.
The question then is how do the mental substances affect the physical, and vice versa? Because obviously when I stub my toe, though I am only feeling a physical pain, I still feel it as a mental event and, if you will, it affects my “soul”. If these two substances occupy different realms, how can they possibly interact? This is called the mind-body problem, and has been discussed ever since Descartes published his ideas in the sixteenth century. There are two sides to the problem; one dealing with how something mental can cause something physical, and the other addressing how something physical can cause something mental. The real question we must grapple with is how can brain processes cause mental phenomena to begin with? Or how can brains produce the mind, if they even do?
Epiphenomenalism is the idea that mental states are merely byproducts of physical states, and begs the question of how mental states could cause a physical state and have an effect on the physical world. According to this view, John Searle likens consciousness with the froth in ...


... middle of paper ...


...now about other minds that are out in the world?
At first glance, his theory does look a little bit like property dualism, but upon further examination one finds that it is not. Unlike many of the traditional theories of the mind, he bases his theory on what modern science has told us, instead of building upon past theories he claims are incorrect in their vocabulary. Searle is clear-cut when he states his view is based on science, and thus does not require postulating any additional realms or substances, a la Occam's Razor. Therefore, Searle's biological naturalism is adequate in differentiating itself between property dualism. I believe Searle provides a good account of the mind and consciousness, and although his view falls short in other areas, I believe he is on to something very important and relevant to everyone who is concerned with the mind-body problem.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Psychoactive Substances And Its Effects On The Central Nervous System Essay

- ... The line between the themes of “coping” and “altering” seems thin, but one can surmise that the difference lies in whether or not the consumer’s perception of reality remains unchanged. Either theme can have beneficial or harmful effects unless used responsibly (GCU PCN-150 Lecture 1, 2014). Altering One of the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism states that the cause of suffering is desire, so the elimination of suffering requires an elimination of desire. In other words, a person’s perception is his reality so a person can control his reality by altering his perception....   [tags: Drug, Recreational drug use, Pharmaceutical drug]

Strong Essays
1266 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Mental Illness And Substance Use

- ... I would proudly use this article as research in a paper that I write because it is one of the most scholarly articles I have witnessed. "Link Between Underage Substance Use and Problems in Adulthood." SAMHSA News -. Web. 2014. 29 Feb. 2016. In the article, “Link Between Underage Substance Use and Problems in Adulthood” the author discusses how the abuse of substances in the early stages of life will result in life long problems. This article explains why the adolescent stage is so crucial to not participate in substance use; teenager’s brains are still growing....   [tags: Mental illness, Mental disorder, Drug addiction]

Strong Essays
2111 words (6 pages)

Essay on The Health Benefits Of Physical Activity

- ... Studies continue to show that “physical activity and avoiding high-fat foods are the two most successful means of reaching and maintaining heart-healthy levels of fitness and weight (www.heart.org).” Exercise isn’t just about keeping in shape. It can also help with emotional and mental health. Another benefit of exercise is it can reduce the symptoms of moderate depression and enhance psychological fitness. Exercise reduces the amount of stress hormones in the body, resulting in slower heart rate, relaxed blood vessels, and lower blood pressure....   [tags: Obesity, Physical exercise, Hypertension]

Strong Essays
1339 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Disabilities And Mental Illness Of Veterans

- Disabilities and Mental Illness When individuals go into the military they have a complete physical checkup to get cleared to join a branch of service they have selected. Individuals go into the military without having any disabilities or a mental illness, but this can change while they serve during combat. Before signing up, he or she knows the risks such as putting their life on the front line before going into the military. While a solider is in combat, he or she is faced with many types of situations that can cause trauma, physical disability or a mental disability....   [tags: Mental disorder, Disability, Schizophrenia]

Strong Essays
1310 words (3.7 pages)

Essay Mental Health : Narrative Outline

- ... The current management problem with PTSD and firefighter suicide in the fire department is that firefighters and their families are not receiving the educating that they should be; their educating will be able to provide prevention and/or early treatments to reduce these items. I. What is post-traumatic stress disorder and firefighter suicide. Here post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide will be defined throughout the paper, in addition to, expanding on statistical information about the percentages and rates of obtaining these mental behaviors that firefighters may obtain from on the job events....   [tags: Suicide, Mental disorder]

Strong Essays
1084 words (3.1 pages)

The Impact of Neurotransmitters on Physical and Mental Behavior Essay

- Impact of Neurotransmitters on Physical and Mental Behavior The neurons inside of the central and peripheral nervous system are responsible for all human activity. A Neurotransmitter is a chemical that is released by a neuron's terminal button. Neurotransmitters have either an excitatory or an inhibitory effect on the other nearby neurons. Neurotransmitters are a very important part of the Central Nervous System (CNS) because they allow communication to occur inside neurons as well as between neurons....   [tags: Neurology]

Strong Essays
1443 words (4.1 pages)

The Relationship Between Mental Illness And Addiction Essay example

- ... Some of them proposed that they needed to be relieved of their duties because they were being a burden to the organization. This study was conducted in Canada and a total of three hundred employees were interviewed. Conclusively, the majority of the sampled participants believed that co-workers who suffered from mental disorders are a liability to the firm and the best way to deal with them is to refer them to a psychiatric facility where they could get quality treatment. Schott, R. L. (2009)....   [tags: Mental disorder, Psychiatry, Schizophrenia]

Strong Essays
1379 words (3.9 pages)

The Effects Of Violence On Mental Health Care Essay

- Mentally people have been thought to be violent. The term violence can be used for anything from aggression to homicide. Violence is referring to physical acts directed to other people. (Stuart) It may sometimes, mainly in the case of older individuals, be verbal aggression towards mental health care workers. (O’Callaghan) Mental illness refers to patients who are affected with a severe mental illness (Stuart) categorized in (SPMI) such as schizophrenia or a personality disorder. The reason why people even think people with mental illnesses are violent is because of the media....   [tags: Schizophrenia, Mental disorder, Psychiatry]

Strong Essays
1257 words (3.6 pages)

Essay on Ptsd Is Considered A New Mental Disorder

- ... Many people who experience PTSD have or develop other disorders. These disorders include anxiety disorders such as OCD or generalized anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, and PTSD patients often become substance abusers. Statistics About 7.7 million Americans are affected by PTSD, which is 3.5% of the population. About 7% of the entire population(U.S.) is affected, but it is slightly more common in women than men. PTSD is most common with people in the military. Other people have been diagnosed with this disorder, and it it is common in women, alcoholics, and people who are less educated and suffer from another mental disorder....   [tags: Abnormal psychology, Mental disorder, Anxiety]

Strong Essays
1261 words (3.6 pages)

The Effects Of Poor Lifestyle Choices And Their Effect On The Mental And Physical Health Of College Students

- ... The freedom to make the decisions they want to without anyone looking over them or being disappointed if something goes a little wrong. In their publication Change in diet, physical activity, and body weight among young-adults during the transition from high school to college, Heidi J Wengreen and Cara Moncur uncovered a defining statistic that stated “those who gained ≥ 5% of body weight reported less physical activity during college than high school, were more likely to eat breakfast, and slept more than were those who did not gain ≥ 5% of body weigh”, (Wengreen 5) an association that had not been previously recorded in other studies or journals regarding factors for weight gain during...   [tags: Psychology, Personal life, Education, University]

Strong Essays
1330 words (3.8 pages)