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Lecture 8

PHLA10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Woodhouse Eaves, Psychological Review, Philosophy Now

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William Seager

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“I think therefore I am”, Rene Descartes. Dualism is the idea that there exists both
body and mind, distinct from one another, however connected in some way. There are
physical objects in one hand, and mental objects like, pain and beliefs in the other. The view
of Descartes’ Dualism is sometimes referred to as, Cartesian Dualism. Dualists believe that
the mind determines our personality and the body is an outer shell for the real self. They
believe that the mind which is a non physical object, is distinct from all of the body’s physical
Descartes’ perspective allows him to accept the scientific facts of the physical world
while maintaining traditional aspects of the mind and human freedom.“Psychology is the
science of the mind. The human mind has the most intellectual capacity on Earth. It is the
source of all thought and behaviour” (BBC Science). It is clear that the study of psychology
believes in the existence of our minds since that is their main focus. Psychology focuses on
other additional aspects to the mind like behaviour and mental functions. Since this study
focuses on the mind, it proves that the mind exists, in addition to the fact that there is such an
immense study for mind and behavior. A traditional aspect is when Descartes’ states that his
purpose in showing that the human mind or soul is really distinct from the body is to counter
those irreligious people who only have faith in mathematics and will not believe in the soul
immortality without a mathematical demonstration of it. Due to this, these people will not
pursue moral virtue hence, irreligious people will be forced to believe in afterlife.
Descartes’ view claims that the properties of matter could never create something as
self-awareness, since these qualities could come only from a type of society that is not
materialistic. Since we live in a materialistic society, we don’t realize how incredible and
self-awareness properties of matter could be. Self-awareness involves an awareness of what
my body is doing, such as being aware of myself walking down a set of stairs. His
perspective claims that something like the distinction between the mind and the brain, that the
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properties of matter created is extraordinary and unique. The concept of consciousness is
commonly accompanied by the term, unconsciousness which refers to the mental operations
that we are not aware of. Descartes was convinced that we didn’t need our bodies to live an
intellectually aware and active life and consequently the mind could escape death. He felt that
even if we drastically changes or altered our appearance, then it would not affect our
personalities and you would be able to recognise someone by reference to his or her
character. “Our soul is of nature entirely independent of the body, and consequently it is
not bound to die with it”.
There isn’t a place in the brain where electrical stimulation can cause a person to
believe or decide. Electric stimulation is the process of medical assistance through electrical
current. Although our thoughts can be true or false. Nobody can tell what we are thinking
therefore, we must be asked what we’re thinking. The fact that electric stimulation can’t
occur on any location of the brain reveals how strong and complex the mind could possibly
be. Nothing and no one can force our decisions, beliefs, and perspectives. The mind is a non
physical object, and is distinct from all of the body’s physical parts therefore, it cannot be
controlled or manipulated. For example, Nisbett and Wilson (1977) looked at many, many
cognitive and social psychology studies conducted in the 1960s, 70s and earlier. These studies
involved manipulating participants’ behaviour. Nibsett and Wilson came up with three
conclusions. Firstly, people are mostly unaware that their behaviour or thought processes
have been changed by the experimenter. Secondly, even if they are aware of the
manipulation, they can’t identify the process of change that occurred. Lastly, Most people
cannot connect their changed thought or behaviour with the experimenter’s manipulation
Mental and physical attributes have different properties. Mental events have qualities
such as various beliefs, desires, sensations, and emotions. Feelings like these cannot be
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