The Problem Of Dualism : Descartes Essay

The Problem Of Dualism : Descartes Essay

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Liang Zhou
Student No.200314592
Philosophy 100
Due date: 3/30/2015
The problem of dualism
Descartes proposed that the mind which represents thinking, and the body which represents mechanism are totally distinct-a thesis is called mind-body dualism. He believes the nature of thinking substance which cannot not be extended is completely different from the body which can be extended, and therefore it is possible for one to exist without the other. Some examples can prove that the mind could exist without body such as persistent vegetative state, zombie and some nature physiological response. However, mind-body distinction is a controversial problem today as people may say: normally, the movement of our bodies are controlled by our minds such as writing exams and so on. Therefore, the mind and the body do have interaction in our daily life. Gilbert Ryle argues that Descartes makes a category-mistake by thinking that there is something called mind over and above a person 's behavioral dispositions. He believes that the mind is not an object that is made of an immaterial substance, but a collective of predicate for observable behavior and unobservable disposition. Ryle 's argument of mind is more reasonable by the fact that the mind is not a place to contain mental things such as images and memories. Thus, mind and body are totally different things. Descartes ' concept is wrong because he conjoins mind and body as if they are the same thing. The conception of mind is a part of person 's body that thinks and acts in a socially acceptable way.
Descartes believes that the mind is independent upon the body. It implies that the mind and body are separated in space. The zombie is a classic example to discuss how dualism works in this case. ...


... middle of paper ...


...on 's have mental states like ours. Minds do not belong to the category of thing as minds are not things.
Ryle mentions that "the phrase 'there occurs mental processes ' does not mean the same sort of thing as 'there occur physical processes ', and, therefore, that it makes no sense to conjoin or disjoin the two."(Ryle, page 12). The premise of the official doctrine that the bodily movement is caused by physic and that the bodily movement is caused by mental cannot be conjoined logically as Descartes do. Although the premises are true, the conclusion is false. Thus, Descartes argument is wrong.
In conclusion, Ryle refutes Descartes ' mind-body dualism through showing Descartes ' misuse of vocabulary, which conjoin two different categories together category-mistake by thinking that there is something called mind over and above a person 's behavioral dispositions.

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