Cartesian Dualism

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The Oxford dictionary describes the mind as ‘the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought’. Our mind is housed in a physical body and the way in which these two elements are thought to react with eachother, is based on a relationship between mind and matter. What is the relationship between mental and physical? Two both popular and conflicting approaches come from those that argue in favour of monism and those that argue in favour of dualism. A dualism approach expresses the idea that mental and physical events are separate and mutually irreducible concepts. Dualists believe the mind is separate from the physical body. Monism, however,…show more content…
Our mind is whole and indivisible, whereas the body can be changed. Physical changes such as losing a limb in no way reduces the mind. This train of thought, however, raises a question: if the mind and body are essentially distinct, how does the body influence the mind, and vice versa? Cartesian dualism is the idea that mind and body are two fundamentally different entities, but that they can interact in the brain; mental events can cause physical events. We can make the mental decision to move or speak, causing nerve processes to trigger muscle contractions. Equally, physical events lead to mental events; the physical act of sticking a pin into your finger can cause nerve processes that affect the mind and produce the experience of pain. But how can damage to the physical body be perceived as pain by something that consists of a nonphysical mind? In the same way, how can something that consists of a nonphysical substance, that is our mind, cause a physical body to perform an action? The mind and the body may be two fundamentally different entities but their need to interact with eachother is imperative to create the reality of
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