Are Mind And Body Essentially Different? Essay

2454 Words Oct 24th, 2016 10 Pages
Are mind and body essentially different? [Descartes, Conway, Cavendish]

In 17th century philosophy, the mind-body issue surfaced many circulating viewpoints as to what the real relationship between the mind and the physical world is. This continuing dilemma brings up questions that have ongoing answers regarding if the mind and body are two substances or not, and how exactly the mind and body are related to each other. I am choosing to take a monist standpoint in this paper, expressing that the mind and body are in fact one substance and are not inherently different: matter cannot be infinitely divisible, there is no source of activity in the nature of matter being extended, and other body parts besides the mind have knowledge. In this paper, I will first define key terms for the understanding of my readers. Secondly, I will summarize the dualist view of Descartes, followed by an explanation of the monist stances of Conway and Cavendish opposing Descartes. Lastly, I will go into two counterarguments against monism, followed by a final wrap-up of the paper.
To begin, what exactly constitutes this idea of the mind? For the purpose of this context, the mind will be defined as the element within our existence that allows for the process of reasoning. The body, on the other hand, will be defined as some material substance composing a physical structure. In answering how the mind and body are related to each other, many fall under one of two categories: monism or dualism, where…

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