Descartes's Dualism Argument

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1002698057 I think that Descartes’s dualism is very powerful, even though it has a few flaws, one of which is its inability to explain causal interactions between the body and the mind. Descartes’s first argument for dualism is the indubitable existence argument, which utilises Leibniz’s law. Leibniz’s law, also known as the indiscernibility of identicals principle, states that if two objects are the same, then any property that one object has, the other must also have. Descartes applies this principle by claiming that he can’t doubt the existence of his mind, but he can doubt the existence of his body. By taking those as properties of his mind and body respectively, he shows that the mind and body are different entities. Descartes’s second…show more content…
Descartes’s claims that your brain has extension, but your mind does not, and so you can divide your brain into smaller parts, but your mind is indivisible since it does not occupy space. Again, by taking these as properties of your brain and mind, we can see that they are two separate entities, hence dualism. One of the main arguments against dualism is how something physical (your body, brain) can affect something that is not (your mind) and vice versa. Sober defines causality as: “something we can understand best when we consider two physical events that are linked by a physical signal.” Descartes, nor any other dualist could find a satisfactory solution to that problem. (Sober, 263) Some of Descartes’s disciples tried to solve the problem by using God, but there they ran into a bigger problem – proving the existence of God (which they obviously failed to do so, otherwise most of the world would probably be religious by now). Sober points out a flaw with Descartes’s indubitable existence argument by using the following example: Lois Lane wants to marry Superman, but not Clark Kent. However, it does not follow that Superman is not Clark Kent, because they are in fact the same person. Sober uses…show more content…
Rather than considering it to be a major problem for dualism, maybe we should consider it as a question that we are currently incapable of solving with our current science and technology. And so, it may be the case that the way the non-physical mind interacts with the physical body is just something science has not been able to uncover yet. In this regard, the mind is very much like God, in that we have no real means to study or observe them directly. It is also possible that science is wrong about causality, and that causation between the physical and non-physical is possible. After all, science is known to be wrong at times, like when Newton’s theory of gravity was proven wrong and had to be replaced with Einstein’s theory of relativity. As for Sober’s argument against indubitable existence, “it sounds as if” (Sober, 260) he’s got a counter argument by using aliases with Leibniz’s law. However, whether you’re talking about Superman and Clark Kent, or the Morning and Evening stars, there is one thing you must keep in mind, namely that those are simply aliases; different names to refer to the same thing. When Sober says “Lois Lane marries Superman is a different proposition [than] Lois Lane marries Clark Kent,” he is mistaken, as Superman and Clark Kent are one and the same; two side of the same coin. But what about the mind and body? Those words refer to different things, one refers

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