Dualism of mind and body

apple-88x50Stephen Hicks here introduces the dualist account of the mind-body relation. This is from Part 4 of Professor Hicks’s Philosophy of Education course.

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5 thoughts on “Dualism of mind and body

  • September 18, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Hi, Dr. Hicks, I cannot see or watch this video or any other from your(this) website, is there something wrong? thanks, regards, Eaine Rogers

  • October 26, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    In ancient Greek philosophy, mind/body dualism (hylemorphic dualism) was most prominently associated with Plato. Modern dualism (substance dualism) began with Descartes. These two views are radically different and have had radically different influences on modern philosophy and modern science. Here is an excerpt on my page ‘Descartes and the Philosophical Crisis of Modern Science’ found here: http://bioperipatetic.com/descartes-and-the-philosophical-crisis-of-modern-science/

    “Cartesian versus Platonic Dualism

    It is often said that Descartes’ mind-body split was anticipated by Plato, who advocated the distinction between the body and the soul. But Cartesian and Plationic dualism, though superficially similar, were in a fundamental way radically different, for whereas Plato viewed the soul as the seat of both intellect and bodily animation, Descartes believed that the body was essentially a machine whose animation was effected by the laws of motion acting on its bodily parts (at least for animals, for he wisely omitted man from this hypothesis). Plato saw the body (as did Aristotle, who was not a dualist) as the instrument of the soul, that which allows the soul to realize its values and desires in the world. For an excellent discussion of Cartesian vs Platonic dualism, see Soul and Body in Plato and Descartes by Sarah Brodie

    Descartes rejected the Platonic concept of soul (as a union of thought and bodily control) and reduced the essence of ‘soul’ to consciousness alone, without the power of bodily animation. Furthermore, consciousness, mind, was reduced to ‘thought’ only, without bodily feeling and sense perceptions, these latter reduced to bodily mechanics or reflexes.

    Thus Descartes dualism is far more radical than that of Plato and has had, as a result, a radical and profound influence on the rise of modern science, including the science of psychology. (For a discussion of Descartes’ impact on modern psychology see Reflex Action, by Franklin Fearing). Dualism has led to the philosophical dispute regarding the proper ontology of the world. Since res extensa and res cogitans cannot (based upon their hypothesized contrary natures) ever interact, nor either serve as the ontological foundation of the other, and since there is no third alternative (so it is believed) to these two ontological primaries, according to the modern doctrines of the philosophy of science, the universe must be entirely either the manifestation of matter (materialism) or the manifestation of mind (idealism).

    The impact of mind-body dualism cries out for a new systematic examination and thorough reassessment of this doctrine by philosophy. Ivor Leclerc makes this point and takes this position decisively:

    The main point I am concerned to bring out is that in reference to the mind-body problem the fundamental bequest of the Renaissance to the modern period has been the Neoplatonic ontological dualism and the consequent dichotomy of mind and body. It is this feature of our philosophical inheritance which in our day most urgently requires critical scrutiny. – from The Philosophy of Nature, by Ivor Leclerc, 1986, pp 55-56”

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