Substance Dualism

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Substance Dualism
1 What is it?
1.1 The mind & body are two distinct and independant substances contingently connected in a causal relation.
1.1.1 Causual relation - mental states affect bodily events in a causal way and vice versa.
1.1.2 Substance - bearer of properties, not itself a property.
1.1.3 Contingent connection - one that happens to hold but does not have to.
1.2 Nature of Mind & Body (Descartes) - Minds and mental states have a special epistemic status. We have private and privileged 1st person access to our own minds; only we can know our minds. My awereness of my own mind is infallible and incorrigible. In contrast, our bodies are public and knowable in the 3rd person, so neither infallible nor statements about them incorrigible.
2 Arguments in Support of SD and Critical Analysis.
2.1 LEIBNIZ'S LAW. X=Y iff every property of X is a property of Y and vice-versa. George Orwell and Eric Blair are one and the same person because they share all the same properties. Descartes attempts to show that the mind and the body are separate substances by attributing properties to one that are not properties of the other.
2.1.1 ARGUMENT FROM DOUBT. i) I cannot doubt the existence of my mind. ii) I can doubt the existence of my body. Therefore, my mind and body are two distinct things. THE PRIME MINISTER ARGUMENT. David Cameron wakes up with amnesia. i) I cannot doubt that I am David Cameron. ii) I can doubt that I am the Prime Minister. Therefore, David Cameron is not the Prime Minister. The premises are true, but the conclusion is not. The major flaw in the argument from doubt is that it seems to be referring not to the objects in question, but what we are able to think about the objects in question (illustrated by the PM argument). We must refer to the objects themselves. ARGUMENT FROM DIVISIBILITY. i) My mind is essentially nont-extended and indivisible. ii) My body is essentially extended and divisible. Therefore, my mind is not the same as my body. ASSESMENT OF ARGUMENT FROM DIVISIBILITY. Minds and mental states are not divisible only in the sense that concepts of divisibility and indivisibility cannot be applied to minds and mental states. Illustration: A pen on a table is in a state of stability; it makes sense to talk about dividing the pen, but no sense to talk about dividing the state of stability. Similarly, the concepts of divisibility and indivisibility have no application to mental states, so it doesn't make sense to talk of 'divisibility' in this context.
3 Initial Problems
3.1 MANY MINDS PROBLEM. If X is a distinct entity, it makes sense to ask 'how many Xs are there?'. If minds distinct, non-physical entities contingently related to bodies, the question 'how many minds are in the room' makes sense. But there is no criteria available for differentiating and individuating non-physical minds. We cannot simply count bodies; the connection is only contingent; bodies can exist independently of minds.
3.2 EVOLUTION. Cartesians draw a clear distinction between physical creatures that are minded and not minded (humans vs. animals). Evolution makes this 'all or nothing' distinction appear incredibly misguided; there is no such clear cut definitions between us and animals. It seems much more plausible to regard possession of a mind as a spectrum. Even if there was a sharp distinction to be made, the question of when in the evolutionary shceme do minds come into existence, how they come into existence, and for what reason they came into existence, remains a complete mystery.
3.3 ARGUMENT FROM SCIENCE. The scientific method is widely accepted and hugely successful, yet Cartesian minds are beyond the explanatory net of science and as a result completely inexplicable in scientific terms. It is not that science has yet to explain it, it is that science will never be able to explain it in principle. Science is concerned, by definition, with what is observable and testable on an objective, empirical level in the physical world. In addition: Dualism can tell us very little about the mind (explanatory impotence), whereas the supposition that the mind is physical (i.e. brain) can explain a great deal. The strong correlation between mental and physical events (or even stronger; a neural dependence of mental phenomena on events in the brain), the assumption that the mind is physical brings our understanding of the mind more in line with our understanding of everything else, and would give us more explanatory power in both practice and principle.
4 The Problem of Interaction
4.1 How do the mental and physical causually interact? Mental events cause physical events and vice versa (eg. my pain causes me to wince, my belief that I am in danger makes me run). Yet how this interaction takes place is a mystery.
4.1.1 THE PHILOSOPHICAL PROBLEM: How can a non-physical, non-spatial thinking substance have any causal effect on physical matter? Interaction must take place somewhere, but if the mind has no spatial properties then it can't take place anywhere. Descartes suggested that the interaction takes place in the pineal gland, but this response (even if it were anatomically correct, which it is not), does not solve the problem, but merely pushes it a stage backwards; how does the mind interact causually with the pineal gland? Causal relations are established through public observation; but this apparent interaction takes place in private, so the usual method of establishing causual relations by experiment and observation is unavailable. SCIENTIFIC PROBLEM: Substance Dualism conflicts with the causal closure of the physical, an important law at the centre of our understanding of the laws of nature. Only physical events can bring about other physical events because, for anything to cause a physical object to move, or cause a change in one, there must be a flow of energy/transfer of momentum from cause to physical object. But an un-extended mind outside of the physical space lacks the mass and velocity necessary to do this. DUALISTIC RESPONSE; EPIPHENOMENALISM. Deny the existence of mental causation. Mental states are causally produced by the brain and are dependant on brain states, but are causally inert in relation to the brain so have no causal effect on the physical body. Steam engine analogy - the steam is merely an epiphenomenon of the train; in the same way mental states are epiphenomenon of the brain. PROBLEMS WITH EPIPHENOMENALISM: 1) Our own experience as agents acting in the world - Crossing the road to get a drink from a shop; part of the explanation for my actions references my beliefs (that the shop sells drinks) and desires (I am thirsty) in what appears to be a causal explanation. 2) Cannot get rid of the idea that other people's minds have made a difference in the physical world through their causal effect on behaviour (eg. beleifs about the universe's origins cause physicists to perform experiments). 3) Epiphenomenalism is incoherent and creates a paradox. By saying 'I believe that epiphenomenalism is true' that presupposes that the person's beliefs are causally active - they produced verbal behaviour! One abandons the doctrine of epiphenomenalism in asserting one's belief in it.
5 The Problem of Other Minds
5.1 If the mind is essentially private, then there are problems concerning how we can ever come to know 1) what anyone else is thinking, feeling etc. 2) whether there is any thinking, feeling etc. actually going on in other people. If Cartesian minds are non-physical and beyond the realm of physical detection, but as a 3rd person we are only ever aquainted with the physical, how do we know (both in practice and principle) that these minds exist?
5.1.1 MILL'S RESPONSE: We infer from our own experience of our own minds. i) People exhibit similar behaviour to me, and ii) my behaviour is caused by underlysing mental states. iii) Therefore, their behaviour is similarly caused by underlysing mental states. PROBLEMS WITH MILL'S RESPONSE: 1) How can we ever reasonably generalise from a single case? Weakes example of an inductive argument possible. 2) It is only the behaviour of other human beings that is sufficiently similar to our own that makes this analogy possible. Non-human animals can surely be minded? 3) Our awareness of other minds is immediate and more certain than this analogy suggests. Our conviction is strong, and doesn't necessitate the analysis of other people's behaviour to deduce that they are minded. WITTGENSTEIN'S PRIVATE LANGUAGE ARGUMENT: Problem of other minds stems from a misunderstanding of language. The existence of a private language would require private, inner ostensive definition and privately following a rule. The first is required to fix the meaning of a term, and the second to use the term correctly. Neither of these is possible. In order to fix the meaning of a term privately, I must have a criterion of correctness. But this criterion cannot be drawn privately; whatever seems right to me, is right, so it makes no sense to talk about being right. There is no possibility of an independent check with a private language so we cannot learn mental vocabularly privately, from the 1st person pov. One can never introduce into a public language a word which refers (in that language) to a private object, and the private object simply becomes irrelevant. The nature of mental states could be completely different, but we use the same words and actions to describe and capture it, so any mental states or events that are private are irrelevant to the meaning of the words used in relation to minds. Words like 'pain' and 'love' are defined by public criteria. If there can be no private languages, as set out above, and yet we can use mental vocabulary (as we certainly can and do) this proves that other minded persons exist. Therefore, asking the question of whether other minds exist is self-defeating. Wittgenstein doesn't solve the problem; he dismisses it. IMPLICATIONS: 1) Solves the problem of other minds. 2) Undermines some of the most basic assumptions of Cartesian dualism. PLA undermines assumption of minds' epistemic 1st person status; what you can be said to know and say about your mind remains always public. 'inner feeling' etc - we cannot be said to KNOW these things. Wittgenstein says that it makes no sense to talk about 'knowing' things like sensations - 'I know I'm in pain' just means 'I am in pain'. Pain is not descriptive but is rather expressive in nature. 'knowing' entails the possibility of doubt and I cannot doubt that I am in pain. Consequently, I cannot be said to know my own mind privately.

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