Dualism, The Belief That The Mind And Body Are Separate And Distinct

725 Words Aug 14th, 2015 3 Pages
Cartesian Dualism, or substance dualism, is the belief that the mind and body are separate and distinct. In 1949, Gilbert Ryle harshly critiqued the concept of dualism in his book, The Concept of Mind and, more specifically, in his essay ‘Descartes’ Myth’. The purpose of Ryle’s essay was to demonstrate that dualism (which Ryle believed at the time was widely accepted and dubbed it dogmatic) commits a fatal mistake, namely a Category-Mistake. The purpose of this essay is to show that Ryle’s argument against dualism in his essay is not fatal to dualism.

II. Methods and Presuppositions

In order to show that Gilbert Ryle’s argument against dualism is not fatal, I will attempt to show that Ryle’s position, as a behaviorist, does not allow for any dualist accounts. It will also be argued that Ryle commits the fallacy of irrelevant conclusion in his argument. Finally, I will argue that dualists do not necessarily commit a category mistake.

This essay presupposes that the concept of dualism is entirely sound. It will also presuppose that any objection to dualism, other than the category-mistake, is answerable. This essay will also presuppose that the reader has basic knowledge of psychology and logic.

III. The Text’s Argument

Ryle begins his essay, ‘Descartes’ Myth’ by reconstructing what he believes to be Dualism’s beliefs, in fact the first section of his essay is dedicated to this cause. Dualism, or “The Official Doctrine” as Ryle dubs it, has two distinct and separate…

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