How do you argue for and against Cartesian Dualism?

Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2017 06:07 pm
Are your mind and body really two completely separate things, with different essences or ways of being, as Descartes claims? Why/why not? Could there be anything to recommend this view? Discuss with respect to Descartes’ two main arguments for substance dualism.
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Reply Tue 10 Jan, 2017 07:13 pm
Two "separate" things? If anyone can point to a mind somewhere which has no body associated, then you could say yes. If you find one, let me and everyone else know.

"Separate" is the wrong word to use here. They are "different" things (as pain is a different thing from the injury itself). Pain being the subjective experience of an injury to the body.

Pain, that subjective experience, is a property of our bodies with their extremely complex nervous systems and brain. And "mind" looks to be simply (although it is't simple at all) a property which emerges from body, nervous system and brain.
Reply Wed 11 Jan, 2017 05:19 pm
Blat you simply appear to be reflecting my assertion that nothin' is entirely anythin', but....
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2017 06:33 am
In that non-place between body and soul, where my mother locked me up for days on end, I wasn't able to reflect so try to do it now whenever I can. It seems to me that if I reflect, then I am.
Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2017 06:37 am
Descartes was, as we know, trying to answer a theological and epistemological question - Given that satan is one sneaky bugger who can trick you into thinking perhaps anything at all, like that cocaine is good or sin is normal and fun, is there anything at all that I can establish that I "know"?

And his answer was extraordinarily bright and profound. I think it is one of the brightest ideas I've ever come across.
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Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2017 07:04 am
The obvious thing to recommend this view is that intuitively, we "feel" that our mind is very different from anything material (absence of weight, size or extension for instance) and also that our mind is unable to fully grasp what matter is (= the Kantian idea that our mind cannot access the true essence of things, only their appearances).

So it does intuitively feel like mind and matter can't mix, just like oil and water. That there is a gulf of differences between those two.

Another argument is the duality between wave and particle. If each and every physical particle in this world can also be described as a wave, then it is possible to think that each living entity can be described as a combination of body and soul. Cartesian dualism is not more shocking to the mind than the idea of a wave-particle duality.

However, we know empirically that mind cannot exist without body, ever, and that once a person's brain is cut in multiple pieces, nothing much seems to remain of his mind. Therefore it is logical to conclude that the body gives rise to the mind, that it produces it. And thus it is logical to conclude that mind and matter are not totally strangers to one another. Matter can create mind, and mind can affect matter (through decision making).

In the end, it is the word "substance" which is not very clear here. What is meant by "two substances"? Can, say, matter and information be perceived as "two substances"? But then, what substance composes a poem writen on a sheet of paper? Is the poem's substance the ink and paper, or is it made of signs (letters, words), or is it made of ideas and images?

Come to think of it, what is the "substance" of the body? Matter? Energy? Wave? Information?

The concept of substance is pretty vague, as I see it. Perhaps it's just another failed attempt at grasping the essence of things. Then the question does not really matter. What matters then are the relationships between body and mind. How does the body give rise to the mind? How does the mind control the body (to an extent)? These are to me much more fascinating questions than "what substance are they made of".
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Reply Thu 12 Jan, 2017 10:46 am
if I reflect, then I am
But I do somehow recall another equally famous philo having said something almost identical, some time ago

But more power to ya, Ham
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Reply Sat 4 Mar, 2017 04:10 pm
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