Mind & Body Feb
Theories of Mind:
A. Dualism: Body and mind are two very different sorts of substances: body is material or
physical and mind is immaterial or non-physical
1. Interactionist Dualism
- A form of dualism according to which minds can affect bodies and bodies can affect
- A form of dualism according which bodies can affect minds, but minds cannot affect
B. Materialism: Both minds and bodies are material or physical things.
1. Mind – Brain Identity Theory:
- A form of materialism that identifies the mind with the brain, and identifies mental
states, processes, and events with the physical (neurological and electrochemical)
states, processes and events occurring in the brain.
2. Functionalism – A form of materialism that identifies our mental states with the
functional roles occupied by, or functions (jobs) performed by, physical states of the
Physical vs. Non – Physical
- According to a dualistic theory of mind, the mind is a nonphysical entity or substance
and the body is physical.
- “The indiscernibility of Identicals: If A = B, then if A has a certain property
(characteristics) at a given time, B must also have that property (characteristic) at that
- The law states the obvious: Nothing can be different from itself in any way.
- Leibniz’s Law has been used to defend Dualist theories of mind.
- A successful defense of Dualism only needs to show that minds have some
characteristics that physical objects don’t have or vice versa
- What characteristic does Descartes identify as ascribable to the mind but not to physical
- “…minds are knowable with certainty (but physical objects aren’t)”
- Methodological Scepticism - Descartes ‘methodically’ doubts or calls into question everything that he knows – or
thinks that he knows.
Descartes’Argument for Dualism
1. That I exist can be known with complete certainty
2. That any physical object exists cannot be known with complete certainty
- Descartes’ need only apply Leibniz’s law to get his conclusion:
3. So, I cannot be any physical object.
4. I am not a physical object.
- “… the existence of my mind can be known (by me) with complete certainty, but this is
not true of any physical object.” (64)
- But is the fact that I cannot know physical objects with complete certainty a
‘characteristic’ of physical objects? Or, is this a characteristic of ‘me?
1. That I am the offspring of my biological parents is something that I can know with
2. That I am the offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Foster is not something that I can know with
3. So, I am not the offspring of Mr. and Mrs. Foster
- This is the view that minds and bodies can causally interact with one another
- The body affects the mind
- The mind affects the boyd