For centuries philosophers have debated on monism and dualism, two different philosophical views of the human person. Philosophers have been trying to decipher whether the person is made up of the mind, the body, or both. Monists hold the belief that existence is purely based upon one ultimate "category of being" this means that either the person is made up of only the body or only the mind (Morris p155). Dualists hold the belief that existence is based upon the body as well as the mind and its mental properties (Morris p155).
There are two basic types of monism. The first view is materialism, which states, "All that exists is matter, configured into material objects" (Morris p155). In other words materialists believe everything that exists is purely physical. Materialists believe that existence is only based on the body. This leads to the materialist assumption that people do not exist with their mind, soul or spirit (Morris p155). The essence of the materialist view is that a human being is made up of and functions by means of matter and every action or thing has physical means that it exists upon. "All things, no matter how many or of what variety, can be reduced to one unified thing in time, space, or quality" (Encyclopedia of Philosophy-Monism). There are different renditions of materialism known among modern philosophers. One rendition of materialism is called eliminative materialism. Eliminative materialism implies that there are no such things as thoughts, pains, and feelings but that our brain is simply made up of events that cause these emotions (Morris p159). For example, if a person puts their hand on a hot stove and jumps, the cause of that jump was the brain and not the stove. Another rendition of materialism is known as reductive materialism. Contrary to the belief of eliminative materialism, reductive materialism illustrates that sensations such as feelings do exist, and that brain events are the cause of those thoughts, pains, and feelings...
Cited: "Dualism" The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"Dualism." Oxford Encyclopedia. Keyword: Dualism.
"Monism." The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
"Monism." Oxford Encyclopedia. Keyword: Monism.
Morris, Tom. Philosophy For Dummies. California: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 1999.
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