Explanations Offered by Dualism and Monism

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Dualism and monism are fundamentally different ideas but attempt to offer the same explanation to the problem of what our personal identity is made of. Both ideas give an interesting perspective but I believe that monism provides the most rational explanation. Dualism is the idea that the mind (i.e. beliefs) and body (i.e., brain) are two distinct things (substances), and could exist (at least theoretically) without each other. An argument for dualism is that P1. Pain (mental state) has no weight. P2. Every physical thing (brain state) has weight. C. Therefore, pain is not identical to physical things. P4. The body and its parts (brain state) are physical things. C1. Therefore, pain (mental state) is not identical to the body (brain state). The dualist argument relies heavily on Leibniz’s law, which states that “If x = y then anything that is true of x is true of y (and vice versa).” This means that, if something is true of the mind that is not true of the body, it can show that they must be non-identical. For the previous argument, pain (a mental state) does not have the attribute of weight. However, all physical things do have the attribute of weight. Thus, we conclude that pain is not the same as physical things. A dualists knows that the body and all its parts are considered physical things. This means that pain (mental state) and the body (brain state) do not have the same attributes. Therefore, under Leibniz’s law, we conclude that pain (mental state) is not identical to the body and all its parts (brain state). Monism is the idea that there is fundamentally only one sort of substance and not the dualist’s two. Under the monist view, the brain and body are identical and made from the same substance. To cause doubt... ... middle of paper ... ...ake the inability to detect weight as the conclusion. Thus falsifies the dualist argument. Secondly, the idea of the mind and body being two distinct substances interacting seamlessly leaves me unconvinced. If there are two different properties, they would not be able to interact, but we are able to interact through brain and mental states. For example, consuming alcohol affects the physical states as well as the mental state. If the physical state and mental state were non-identical, then it would be impossible for the alcohol to affect the mental state. Therefore, I believe that the physical and the mental state are made up of the same substance thus having the same effects, Though dualism provides an interesting perspective, I believe that monism makes more sense because it provides a more logical explanation to the way our personal identity works.

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