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Philosophy Of Mind: Dualism And Neutral Monism

1465 words - 6 pages

This essay will discuss the topic Philosophy of Mind (POM) which is split into four areas; Dualism, Materialism, Idealism and Neutral Monism. However, due to the depth of these four areas, only Dualism and Neutral Monism will be discussed more in-depth during this essay.
Philosophy of Mind studies the relationship between the Mind and the Body. Dualism is an area of POM which argues the view reality is made of Mental things and Material things, with early dualists such as Descartes and Plato supporting this area. Dualists emphasise the role of Mind and Body, but also make the distinction that both are separate things. Materialists, such as Democritus, states the world is a collection of ‘atoms’ (separable collections or singular atoms) that compose everything in existence. This view suggests that everyone is made up of these atoms in such a way; it gives us our own distinct image, as it also does to inanimate objects such as tables. Idealism is the belief which argues it is only mental events that exist, suggesting a person’s own perception is the only thing which exists within a person. The view Neutral Monism claims that only one substance exists, and it is neither physical nor mental (only aspects), but the only substance that exists is God, a view held by Spinoza.

Dualism holds the view the world is made up of two (dual) types of things in relation to the Mind-Body concept, Material and Mental, with Mental being linked to the Mind and Material being linked to the Body. It is viewed that the mind is able to act upon the body, and the body can act upon the mind. However, from a parellelist theoretical perspective, the mind nor the body can act upon each other at the same time, suggesting the two are synchronized but do not have an influence upon each other.
Descartes (1987: 189-191) upholds this view of two separate substances of Mind and Body, stating there are physical substances and thinking substances. He states that physical substances are made up of anything that can be measure or divided, whereas mental substances are indivisible. Within these two substances, Descartes suggests the brain and nervous system are two areas within the physical substance branch, whilst the thoughts of the brain belong to the thinking substances.
However, Descartes (1991:15) states that it is able for a person to doubt the existence of their body, but not their actual existence due to the ability of themselves being able to think. Therefore, this suggests that it is able to doubt someone’s existence due to the inability to know if said person has the ability to think, suggesting that Descartes is able to prove his own existence due to his ability to think (as would any human being), but he would doubt the existence of the person stood in front of him due the lack of evidence of said person being able to think. He furthers this by saying: ‘it is able to consider everything a human is able to do and doubt the existence of those said actions’, for example...

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