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The Explication Of Kim’s Pairing Problem And It’s Effect On Substance Dualism

1240 words - 5 pages

Jaegwon Kim argues that the “pairing problem” is a serious issue for substance dualism. He thinks that dualism is unintelligible and aims to show that the “pairing problem” explicates this. The conclusion that Kim is presenting is that the mind as an immaterial substance cannot causally interact with physical objects and furthermore, not with anything at all; this renders minds futile thus leaving us the conclusion that substance dualism is also useless. I will be explicating what casual relations are, and the pairing problem to clarify that the pairing problem does render dualism unintelligible. I will further contemplate a possible objection to this position and a possible reply. In conclusion, I agree with Kim’s approach, the pairing problem succeeds in making dualism unintelligible by showing that minds have no way of interacting with physical objects due to the fact that they cannot be rightly paired by cause and effect.
Before attacking what the pairing problem is and what it does to dualism I’d like to comment on what Kim says about casual relations in general. He begins by presenting an argument for physical causation. In this argument two guns are fired A and B and both kill a person X and Y respectively. The question posed is what makes A cause the death of X and B cause the death of Y and not vice versa? This is the notion of pairing, what pairs with what and why? So, Kim thinks that if there is a casual relationship present between two relational properties or events then there is some way of comprehending that we can couple those two properties or events together. He believes that there are two different ways that we can explicate these casual relations between two incidents. The first possible way is to track a constant casual chain between two instances; however this option is rejected by Kim because the notion of attempting to make such a chain is inevitably, circular reasoning. You cannot ground relations and pairing in such a thing. The second option presented is that, a pairing relation must be created as such that it only functions between the instance or events in the cause and effect pairing. This second option is what Kim thinks we must accept as explaining cause and effect relations. There must be some type of significant relation between event A and event B that aids us in grouping the two together in an instance. To apply this notion, Kim presents a proposition that simply states that two separate objects a and b have a similar property and can have the same casual power over another object c; say a has the ability to alter c in a particular way whereas b has no influence on c at all. “It is the spatial relation between a and c and that between b and c that are responsible for the casual difference between a and b vis-à-vis c,” (p.51-52). After accepting this we can see that this implies that there must be a casual relation. It is important to note that it is not just spatial relations, it is the correct...

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