Cartesian Dualism: The Mind And Body

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Cartesian dualism refers to the notion that the human being consists of two distinct substances – the mind and the body. Today this idea is taken for granted, so it is difficult to imagine that when it is was first theorized by Rene Descartes; it was a truly revolutionary idea. According to Descartes, the mind and body are two essentially different things that causally interact. The mind is an immaterial thing responsible for thought that is somehow connected to the body - a material thing, through which sense perception is possible. In this paper, I will be analyzing Descartes’ understanding of the relationship between the mind and the body and how it is problematic. Descartes is led to insist on the duality of the mind and the body after acknowledging…show more content…
It is essential to Descartes argument that the mind and body are separate that the mind and body be both clear and distinct ideas. Thus, Descartes proves that the mind can exist independently of the body. Ultimately, it is the same clarity and distinctness that serves to distinguish the mind from the body that unites them together as one clear and distinct idea linked to another. Descartes argues that the mind, an immaterial thing interacts causally with the body, a material thing. Due to his belief that dualistic interactionism is unique to human beings, it makes sense that it is difficult for Descartes to make an analogy to illustrate how the mind and body interact. Descartes compares the mind lodged inside the body to a pilot in a vessel, when he feels pain or hunger if his mind and body aren’t inextricably united he would simply be aware

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