Types[ edit ] Ontological dualism makes dual commitments about the nature of existence as it relates to mind and matter, and can be divided into three different types:
Humans have or seem to have both physical properties and mental properties. People have or seem to have the sort of properties attributed in the physical sciences.
These physical properties include size, weight, shape, colour, motion through space and time, etc. But they also have or seem to have mental properties, which we do not attribute to typical physical objects These properties involve consciousness including perceptual experience, emotional experience, and much elseintentionality including beliefs, desires, and much elseand they are possessed by a subject or a self.
Physical properties are public, in the sense that they are, in principle, equally observable by anyone.
Some physical properties—like those of an electron—are not directly observable at all, but they are equally available to all, to the same degree, with scientific equipment and techniques. The same is not true of mental properties.
I may be able to tell that you are in pain by your behaviour, but only you can feel it directly. Similarly, you just know how something looks to you, and I can only surmise. Conscious mental events are private to the subject, who has a privileged access to them of a kind no-one has to the physical.
The mind-body problem concerns the relationship between these two sets of properties. The mind-body problem breaks down into a number of components. Is one class a subclass of the other, so that all mental states are physical, or vice versa?
Or are mental states and physical states entirely distinct? Do mental states influence physical states? Different aspects of the mind-body problem arise for different aspects of the mental, such as consciousness, intentionality, the self.
The problem of consciousness: How is it related to the brain and the body? The problem of intentionality: The problem of the self: Other aspects of the mind-body problem arise for aspects of the physical. The problem of embodiment: What is it for a body to belong to a particular subject? The seemingly intractable nature of these problems have given rise to many different philosophical views.
Materialist views say that, despite appearances to the contrary, mental states are just physical states. Behaviourism, functionalism, mind-brain identity theory and the computational theory of mind are examples of how materialists attempt to explain how this can be so.
The most common factor in such theories is the attempt to explicate the nature of mind and consciousness in terms of their ability to directly or indirectly modify behaviour, but there are versions of materialism that try to tie the mental to the physical without explicitly explaining the mental in terms of its behaviour-modifying role.
Idealist views say that physical states are really mental. This is because the physical world is an empirical world and, as such, it is the intersubjective product of our collective experience. Dualist views the subject of this entry say that the mental and the physical are both real and neither can be assimilated to the other.
For the various forms that dualism can take and the associated problems, see below. In sum, we can say that there is a mind-body problem because both consciousness and thought, broadly construed, seem very different from anything physical and there is no convincing consensus on how to build a satisfactorily unified picture of creatures possessed of both a mind and a body.
In the classical and mediaeval periods, it was the intellect that was thought to be most obviously resistant to a materialistic account: Plato believed that the true substances are not physical bodies, which are ephemeral, but the eternal Forms of which bodies are imperfect copies.
It is their connection with intelligibility that is relevant to the philosophy of mind. Because Forms are the grounds of intelligibility, they are what the intellect must grasp in the process of understanding. In Phaedo Plato presents a variety of arguments for the immortality of the soul, but the one that is relevant for our purposes is that the intellect is immaterial because Forms are immaterial and intellect must have an affinity with the Forms it apprehends 78b4—84b8.
This affinity is so strong that the soul strives to leave the body in which it is imprisoned and to dwell in the realm of Forms.Another argument for dualism claims that dualism is required for free will. If dualism is false, then presumably materialism, the thesis that humans are entirely physical beings, is true.
(We set aside consideration of idealism —the thesis that only minds and ideas exist). The argument from simplicity is probably the simplest and also the most common form of argument against dualism of the mental. The dualist is always faced with the question of why anyone should find it necessary to believe in the existence of two, ontologically distinct, entities (mind and brain), when it seems possible and would make for a.
Descartes’ Arguments For Dualism In the Sixth Meditation and elsewhere in his writings, Descartes tries to prove that his thinking mind and his extended body are distinct substances.
I shall refer to these arguments as the Doubt Argument, the Conceivability Argument, and the Divisibility Argument. The zombie argument establishes only property dualism and a property dualist might think disembodied existence inconceivable—for example, if he thought the identity of a mind through time depended on its relation to a body (e.g., Penelhum ).
A second contemporary line of argument for dualism focuses on the notion of consciousness, and argues that this phenomenon can't be explained in terms of brain chemistry and the like. We'll be looking more closely at these arguments later in the term. The zombie argument establishes only property dualism and a property dualist might think disembodied existence inconceivable—for example, if he thought the identity of a mind through time depended on its relation to a body (e.g., Penelhum ).