Cartesian Dualism

Topics: Mind, René Descartes, Philosophy of mind Pages: 4 (1352 words) Published: March 10, 2013

Rene Descartes, a sixteenth century philosopher and mathematician, attempted to address the issue of how the mind and body interact which subsequently proposed the theory of Cartesian Dualism. According to Descartes, Cartesian Dualism is the belief that mental states are states of an immaterial substance that interacts with the body. He articulates and supports this theory by using the conceivability argument which states that if one can conceive themselves without a body then body is not essential. Furthermore, he uses the divisibility argument in support of his view which states that the mind and the body differ in a way that the mind is not capable of being divisible whereas the body is. One can survive with missing limbs however not be able to survive if any part of the brain is taken away. Although many people would likely agree with the theory of dualism, Descartes arguments support it with his elaborated view and thus, the conceivability and divisibility arguments are too open ended, broad, and outdated to lend support to.

In the conceivability argument Descartes claims that he can conceive himself to exist without a body and that his body is not essential to him. He also claims that whatever is conceivable is therefore possible. In his first premise Descartes states that it is conceivable to exist without a body. Second, whatever is conceivable is possible. And in his third premise he sub-concludes that it is therefore possible to exist and not have a body. The foundation of Descartes beliefs are based on certain and indubitable grounds of knowledge. If, however, there is any measure of uncertainty then all which follows cannot pass for knowledge. The concept of conceivability therefore has infinite possibilities and therefore infinite outcomes. Having infinite outcomes is not a solid argument in which to state the mind can exist without a body because using this one may also argue that it is easy to...
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