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Dualism Essay

892 words - 4 pages

Descartes argues in favor of dualism, the mind is completely independent of the body and vice versa. We have a sense this kind of dualism exists when we say, “I am a mind with a body.” Descartes argues that the self exists in consciousness and that the body is simply a machine the mind controls. Further, dualists support their argument by comparing essences of both the mind and body; the mind is indivisible and free and the body is infinitely divisible and is determined by the laws of the physical universe. This would make them seem as separate entities. The appeal of dualism is in the indivisibility of the mind, if we are just our consciousness then that means when our body dies, the consciousness can still exist. In this paper I shall explain dualism’s appeal and then why it should be rejected. In addition, I recognize there are many different branches of monism, but they will not be debated here due to length constraints, instead I will argue in favor of monism as a whole.
There is an appeal to dualism that religion and popular culture addresses, that is, we exist independent of the body. It addresses our common sense; the self is not the body, but our consciousness and if you change the body we are still ourselves. We can imagine being in a different body, but we cannot imagine being a different consciousness. We act within the physical world and we can act within our own minds, independent of the physical universe. The benefit to a dualist belief is that we exist beyond our mortal bodies and can continue to exist despite the death of our bodies. In addition, dualists argue that if our mind were just a result of the body then how does one account for subjective thoughts of the world? Why can one person find spicy food enjoyable and another treats it as pain? If the body (and by extension, the mind) is subject to the physical rules of the universe than why do the results differ from person to person? Dualists use this as an argument in their favor, but at the core there is a problem with dualism (that Descartes recognizes): the mind-body problem; how does the mind connect and relate to the body?
One must ask, if our minds and bodies exist independently what is it that brings them together? I observe that my mind controls my body, I sign up for a class at 9:30 A.M. and my body shows up at the class right on time. It is not coincidental that I want to go to class and my body just happens to be there. If the mind and body are separate entities then there has to be a...

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