Philosophers have a variety of approaches to understanding societal problems. Descartes is a well-known western philosopher whose work has been studied by a large number of people. Through his extensive writings, several people have dubbed him the modern father of philosophy. His philosophical writings addressed a wide range of topics, including scientific issues, theological, metaphysical, moral, and epistemological issues (Descartes). His most important legacy is his belief that the body and mind are two separate components of a human being. In this article, we’ll look at Descartes’ argument for dualism and how other authors countered it. His philosophy is simple as he concludes that considering that the mind and body’s nature are different humans can survive with one element.
Descartes advise the society to apply the real distinction policy when analyzing the mind-body because of their different natures or substances. The argument implies that they emerge from separate entities. According to the dualist perspective, the mind has no physical association with the brain as presumed in the society. Descartes describes the body as material while the soul is immaterial thus both of the occupied space in a person life but with different nature (Wallace). The memory can be related to the feelings, thoughts, imaginations, and willingness. The brain is guided by the “Cognito” perception of Descartes. The idea is that a person is a product of their thoughts. As a result, the dualistic argument forms the interactionism dimension.
The parallelism theory was created as a dualist problem. The apparent relationships between the mind and body are believed to have been caused by an external factor. Descartes introduces God as the constant factor that causes human to interact the physical and mental activities. He elaborated parallelism by stating that God created the mind separate from the body for each to perform different duties (Descartes). The argument is a realistic view which every person can agree with him. Further, the occupation of the two elements are not divisible thus the body in its unitary form can have several responsibilities, and the same can be applied to the mind. However, philosophers like Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz contradict the ideology presented by Descartes. Being a mathematician and rationalist, he argued that the body’s reaction and the mind’s thoughts are perfectly correlated. He added that their activities are similar to that of synchronized clocks.
Epiphenomenalism is another approach used by Descartes to express the argument that mind and body are distinct. The theory claims that the body responds to various activities in the environment, but the thought is only a by-product of the physical happenings. The reactions of the brain emerge from efficacious circumstances. In most of the cases, an individual can attest that the mind’s behavior stimulates the physical responses. Human beings are naturally ignorant of the brain thus predicting the physical activities become a challenge (Wallace). Philosophers like James D. Madden in his hylomorphism argument he elaborates several theoretical arguments against Descartes substance dualism perspective. Elizabeth objects the resulting interaction problem on the debate that the physical and mental events occur separately from Bohemia. Even though the body and soul contain two distinct natures, they have been considered to influence each other. Plato supported the dualistic theory of the body and mind. He stated that the brain is immaterial and defended that though the spirit exists in an immaterialist nature. He agrees with Descartes that the body can operate in unitary form thus it is different from the memory.
The theory of materialism argues that everything in the universe occupies space but does not focus on the spiritual or intellectual concepts. If materialism is alleged to be true, then the body and mind cannot be separated due to their nature instead they are considered to be one. Descartes argues that the soul is immaterial, however, according to materialism the mind is reasonable and contained in the brain which material is thus making our thoughts physical elements. Materialism takes a monistic approach on the relation between the body and mind (Nagel). A British philosopher Thomas Hobbes provides the solution to the mind-body problems that emerged from the dualistic theory. According to him all things in the world including the state of mind and thoughts are simplified to a straightforward aspect of the matter in motion.
In conclusion, the philosopher’s argument on the relationship between the mind and body varies on whether it is dualistic or materialistic. Both cases provide explicit evidence to support their view. In my opinion, human beings are materialistic; thus they are interdependent in meeting the needs of the person. The body parts have different roles but they result in mutual benefit, and when one of them is vulnerable the other cannot function appropriately.
Descartes, René. ” “Meditations on first philosophy.”.” Central Works of Philosophy Central Works of Philosophy is a multi-volume set of essays on the core texts of the Western philosophical tradition. (2015): 15.
Nagel, Thomas. ” “Conceiving the Impossible and the Mind-Body Problem.”.” Philosophers of Our Times (2015): 7.
Wallace, Brendan, et al. The mind, the body and the world: Psychology after cognitivism?. . Andrews UK Limited, , 2015.