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Dialogue Education 2009. Mind/Body Dichotomy.

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mind body dichotomy

Dialogue Education

2009

Mind/Body Dichotomy

THIS CD HAS BEEN PRODUCED FOR TEACHERS TO USE IN THE CLASSROOM. IT IS A CONDITION OF THE USE OF THIS CD THAT IT BE USED ONLY BY THE PEOPLE FROM SCHOOLS THAT HAVE PURCHASED THE CD ROM FROM DIALOGUE EDUCATION. (THIS DOES NOT PROHIBIT ITS USE ON A SCHOOL’S INTRANET)

contents
Contents
  • Page 3 - Video Presentation on the Mind Body Question
  • Pages 4 to5 - Defining the Mind Body issue
  • Page 6 - The main categories
  • Pages 8 to 22 - Rene Descarte -The Mind Body Problem
  • Page 24 - Community of inquiry Stimulus Material on the Mind Body Problem
  • Page 25 - Video Presentation – John Searle Beyond Dualism
  • Page 26 - Hoopshoot Game on the Mind Body question
  • Page 27 - Bibliography
you tube introduction to the mind body debate
You Tube Introduction to the Mind Body Debate.
  • Click on the image to the left. You will need to be connected to the internet to view this presentation.
  • Enlarge to full screen
mind body dichotomy1
Mind Body Dichotomy

The mind-body dichotomy is the view that "mental" phenomena are, in some respects, "non-physical" (distinct from the body).

mind body dichotomy2
Mind Body Dichotomy

In a religious sense, it refers to the separation of body and soul.

mind body dichotomy3
Mind Body Dichotomy
  • Plato argued that, as the body is from the material world, the

soul is from the world of ideas and thus immortal. He believed the soul was temporarily united with the body and would only be separated at death where it would then go back to the world of forms. As the soul does not exist in time and space as the body does, it can therefore access universal truths from the world of ideas.

  • Dualism - the mind is distinct from the body.
  • Materialism - the mind is an extension of the body (eg. chemical reactions).
  • Idealism - reality is in the mind.

The aim of the soul is to out survive the body where it will return to the world of ideas, along with the identity of the individual.

mind body dichotomy4
Mind Body Dichotomy

The mind-body dichotomy is the starting point of Dualism. It became conceptualized its current form in the Western world by René Descartes's. It also appeared in pre-Aristotelian concepts.

René Descartes' illustration of mind/body dualism. Inputs are passed on by the sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the immaterial spirit.

ren descartes 1596 1650 ad

René Descartes(1596-1650 AD)

Meditations II (1641)

The Mind-Body Problem &

Descartes’ Psycho-Somatic Dualism

slide11

Metaphysical Dualism: Reality is two-dimensional, partly material and partly non-material (minds, ideas, souls, spirits, consciousness, etc.).

Metaphysical Materialism: Reality is nothing but matter-in-motion-in-space-and-in-time. There are no non-material realities.

Metaphysical Idealism: Reality is nothing but Mind, Idea, Soul, Spirit, Consciousness, etc. Matter does not exist (it’s an illusion?).

application to the mind body problem
Application to the “mind-body problem”
  • Metaphysical Materialism: A person is nothing but a physical organism (body only).
  • Metaphysical Idealism: A person is “consciousness only” (mind, soul, spirit); not at all a material being.
  • Metaphysical Dualism: A person is a composite of (1) “mind” (consciousness, intellect, soul, spirit) and (2) body.
cartesian dualism
Cartesian Dualism
  • I know with certainty THAT “I” exist (Cogito ergo sum), but
  • WHAT am “I”?
  • Am “I” my body? No, because I can doubt the existence of my body, whereas I cannot doubt the existence of myself (the “I”).
  • “I” am a thinking thing, a thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, imagines, and has sensations.
is descartes right

Is Descartes right?

Can you doubt the existence of your body (as well as other physical things)?

Why or why not?

slide15

“I can conceive of myself as existing without a body, but I cannot conceive of myself as existing without conscious awareness.”

Bryan Magee, The Great Philosophers (Oxford 1987)

detour

Detour

Descartes' piece of wax

(What is this about?)

D' piece of wax is a physical object.

How is it known? Through the senses? Through the power of imagination? Through the intellect (judgement, intuition)?

that piece of wax
That piece of wax….
  • A major dispute running through the entire history of philosophy has to do with the source(s) of human knowledge. There are two major schools: rationalism and empiricism. The empiricists hold that knowledge is derived from sense perception and experience. The rationalists (such as Descartes) hold that knowledge is derived from clear logical thinking, from the intellect (i.e., from "reason").
  • In the "wax" section, which is a kind of detour from his main argument, Descartes is showing his support of rationalism. He argues that we know - through the intellect - that the wax is and remains what it is as it passes through time and change. Sense perception does not show the "substance" of the wax but only its various appearances. If we relied on sense experience rather than on "reason," then we would "know" that the wax is all of the following: cold and hard, warm and soft, hot and liquid. However, "reason" (not the senses) tells us that the substance (reality) of the wax is something more fundamental than its sensual appearances.
so in descartes view

Back to the mind-body problem….

So…in Descartes’ view,

my body exists (if it exists at all) outside of my consciousness and is therefore part of the “external world.”

Thus,

1 skepticism concerning the existence nature of the external world 2 the existence of god
(1) skepticism concerning the existence & nature of the “external world”

&

(2) the existence of God

the mind body dichotomy
The Mind Body Dichotomy
  • The rejection of the mind-body dichotomy is found in French Structuralism, and is a position that generally characterized post-war French philosophy.
mind body dichotomy5
Mind Body Dichotomy
  • The absence of an empirically identifiable meeting point between the non-physical mind and its physical extension has proven problematic to dualism and many modern philosophers of mind maintain that the mind is not something separate from the body.
mind body dichotomy6
Mind Body Dichotomy
  • These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences
  • particularly in the fields of socio-biology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences.
a community of inquiry on the mind body problem
A community of Inquiry on the Mind Body Problem
  • CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR THE STIMULUS FOR A DISCUSSION ABOUT PROBLEMS WITH THE MATERIALIST THEORY OF MIND (You might like to print this material out and distribute it to the class.)
you tube video dr john searle beyond dualism seven part series
You Tube Video Dr John Searle “Beyond Dualism” (Seven part series)
  • Click on the image to the left. You will need to be connected to the internet to view this presentation.
  • Enlarge to full screen
hoopshoot
HoopShoot
  • Click on the image above for a game of “HoopShoot”. Try playing the game with your students at the start and the end of the unit. Make sure you have started the slide show and are connected to the internet.
bibliography
Bibliography
  • The mind-body problem by Robert M. Young
  • Forming the Mind: Essays on the Internal Senses and the Mind/Body Problem from Avicenna to the Medical Enlightenment, Springer Science + Business Media, 2007-09-30, ISBN 9781402060830 
  • Cronk G. Bergen College Website- http://www.bergen.edu/faculty/gcronk/ppts.html
  • Turner 96, p.76
  • Kim, J. (1995). Honderich, Ted. ed.. Problems in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 
  • Pinel, J. Psychobiology, (1990) Prentice Hall, Inc. ISBN 8815071741
  • LeDoux, J. (2002) The Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are, New York:Viking Penguin. ISBN 8870787958
  • Russell, S. and Norvig, P. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, New Jersey:Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131038052
  • Dawkins, R. The Selfish Gene (1976) Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN
  • Kim, J., "Mind-Body Problem", Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Ted Honderich (ed.). Oxford:Oxford University Press. 1995.
  • Wikipedia-Mind Body Dichotomy- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_body_problem