Ryle V. Descartes Concerning Dualism
Dualism – 1. The view that the world consists of or is explicable as two fundamental entities, such as mind and matter. 2. The view that substances are either material or mental.
Materialism - 1. The theory that physical matter is the only reality and that everything, including thought, feeling, mind, and will, can be explained in terms of matter and physical phenomena. 2. Theory that regards matter and its motions as constituting the universe, and all phenomena, including those of mind, as due to material agencies. Descartes is hailed as the person who could link the spiritual world and the physical world together, when religion ruled all. Gilbert Ryle is considered to be a pioneer in the ‘anti-Cartesian’ movement, and a materialist. These men lived in completely different worlds. They were born over 300 years apart from each other, and had very different ways of life, and yet they both spent years of their lives devoted to a similar theme of philosophy: the existence, or non-existence, of a mental/spiritual world. Rene Descartes was born in 1596, known as the ‘Father of Modern Philosophy’. He lived in a time when nearly all the people of the world believed in ‘God’ or a spiritual world, so in a sense, he was a product of his environment. In his writing Discourse on the Method, he attempted to lay down a foundation of thoughts and principles which could not be disputed as true or not. He utilized methodological skepticism by proving that any theory that could be doubted was untrue. Therefore he had to make sure that his reasons were concrete and indisputable. Descartes compares the body to a machine, full of physical motions working together under the laws of physics. The ‘Human Soul’ or ‘Mind’ is what Descartes says is the other part of a human, and that this part does not abide to the laws of physics, and can even take over our own body’s physical actions, ex: acting irrationally...
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