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First, I will present Descartes position on mind/body dualism and his proof for such ideas. Secondly, I will discuss why I think his argument is weak and offer my own ideas that dispute his reasoning while I keep in mind how he might dispute my argument. Descartes argues that the mind and body can be thought of as separate substances. Descartes writes “I have a body that is very closely joined to me, nevertheless, because … I have a clear and distinct idea of myself, insofar as I am merely a thinking thing and not an extended thing and because … I have a distinct idea of a body, insofar as it is merely an extended thing and not a thinking thing, it is certain that I am really distinct from my body and can exist without it” ( Descartes 50). With this quote, Descartes is saying that the mind and body are separate because he has two distinct ideas of the body and the mind and the body is not a thinking thing as he is but an extended substance.
His response to this is the claim that because “they are intrinsically mental, they are therefore a fortiori they are physical”(P115).He even goes further to say that terms are constrained in design, and as such are assumed to be a complete opposition. Due to this, we can conclude that consciousness is just a simple reductive biological feature of the brain. This assumption constrains his argument and assumes that reduction to a metaphysical level is not necessary in understanding Consciousness. Searle assumes this reduction is fully casual, and that if ontologically reduced, we lose the whole concept. However, what if we consider mental events as individual and subjective.
Additionally, it is at odds with our commonsense intuition that mental states often cause behavior (Vaughn 199). The identity theory is the view “That mental states are identical to physical brain states,” (Vaughn 199). The main claim is that mental states are nothing more than brain states, in other words, the mind is the brain (Vaughn 199). The major flaw with the identity theory is that if it is true, then knowing a person’s brain states would allow for knowledge of their mental states, but it is impossible to explain mental states with brain states (Vaughn 200). The other flaw is the thought that a mind could exist in an alien without it having a brain, then there is no connection between mental states and brain states as there is no brain.
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Gilbert Ryle argues against Decartes’ doctrine called "mind-body dualism." Which explains that he believes the nature of the mind is completely different from the body and therefore it is possible for one to exist without the other. Ryle goes against this because he believes that they are most definitely attached together and without one, the other does not exist, nor does it make you human. The doctrine, (also called as, Cartesian Dualism) Ryle mentions it contains, that (1) every person has both a body and a mind, (2) that they are ordinarily harnessed together and that (3) after the death of the body the mind may continue to exist and function (Ryle 23). He believes that the real mistake of Decartes’ philosophy and why they are not linked is based on a category mistake.
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