Someone recently bought our

students are currently browsing our notes.

X

Dualism Notes

PPE Notes > Philosophy of Mind Notes

This is an extract of our Dualism Notes document, which we sell as part of our Philosophy of Mind Notes collection written by the top tier of Oxford University students.

The following is a more accessble plain text extract of the PDF sample above, taken from our Philosophy of Mind Notes. Due to the challenges of extracting text from PDFs, it will have odd formatting:

Dualism 'Meditation II' - Descartes
? "But there is I know not what sort of deceiver very powerful and very crafty, who always strives to deceive me; without doubt therefore I am, if he can deceive me; and let him deceive me as much as he can, yet he can never make me not to be, whilst I think that I am."
? It was not "without reason that I judged, that body (which by a peculiar right I call my own) to be more nighly appertaining to me than any other body. For from it, as from other bodies, I can never be separated, I was sensible of all appetites and affections in it and for it, and lastly I perceived pleasure and pain in its parts, and not in any other without it."
? "And seeing I cannot believe, that what I seem to perceive in my sleep proceeds from outward objects, what greater reason have I to think so of what I perceive whilst I am awake?" o But Descartes turns to God to solve this problem - God has given him a strong inclination to believe in the external world and God is not a deceiver.
? "[O]n the one hand I have a clear and distinct idea of myself, in so far as I am simply a thinking, non-extended thing; and on the other hand I have a distinct idea of body, in so far as this is simply an extended, non-thinking thing. And accordingly, it is certain that I am really distinct from my body, and can exist without it."
? Shouldn't be worried by doubt that waking experiences =
dreams because "now I plainly discover a great difference, between them, for my dreams are never conjoined by my memory with the other actions of my life, as whatever happens to me awake is"
? "There is a great difference between the mind and the body, inasmuch as the body is by its very nature always divisible, while the mind is utterly indivisible."
? "As for the faculties of willing, of understanding, of sensory perception and so on, these cannot be termed parts of the mind, since it is one and the same mind that wills, and understands and has sensory perceptions." o "By contrast, there is no corporeal or extended thing that I can think of which in my thought I cannot easily divide into parts; and this very fact makes me understand that it is divisible." o Early version of holism about the mental.
? No extended substance thinks & no thinking substance is extended, yet the two causally interact. Excerpt from The Passions of the Soul - Descartes
? "[W]e cannot will anything without thereby perceiving that we are willing it."

o Strong view of perfect knowledge about own mental states. From Philosophy of Mind - Jaegwon Kim
? "To reject the substantival view of mentality is not to deny that each of us 'has a mind'; it's only that we should not think of 'having a mind' as there being some object or substance called a 'mind' that we literally 'have'."
? The supervenience principle has the consequence that there can be at most one Cartesian soul - since they don't differ in physical properties (not having any!) they must have the same mental properties. So they must be one. (Or they have identical mental lives which is just as bad) o I.e. supervenience principle is incompatible with the doctrine of minds as immaterial substances.
? Kim is quite optimistic: "It seems that the only way to proceed is to try to build a physical/biological structure; if we should succeed in constructing an appropriately complex physical system (say, an exact physical replica of an actual human), a mental life would emerge in that system; there is nothing further that needs to be done."
? Mental phenomena may be too diverse and heterogeneous for us to find a distinguishing mark of the mental. Lecture notes are good on this topic. From Philosophy of Mind - John Heil
? "The knowledge you have of your own states of mind is direct and unchallengeable in a way that your knowledge of material objects is not." > privileged access.
? But "Freud long ago convinced us that much in the mind can be hidden."
? "Genuine intervention would require minds to affect in some way the propensity of particular S1 systems to go into state S2." But that would be a violation of law.
? Parallelism accepts a dualistic worldview but denies the 2 substances interact causally.
? "If causal relations boil down to nothing more than regularities, the covariation of events of particular sorts, then it is a mistake to regard the absence of a mechanism or causal link between mental events and material events as a special problem." o But I think there is a special problem for dualists - we only know about physical-physical causation and they posit a new type.
? "Idealists argue that opposing views, views that sharply distinguish minds and their contents from a mind-independent world, are literally incoherent."

Buy the full version of these notes or essay plans and more in our Philosophy of Mind Notes.