Cartesian Dualism

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,
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They assume that the soul/spirit can be located in a particular place (such as the pineal gland discussed earlier), to which Conway disagrees because “spirit is body and body is spirit.” Secondly, she argues that dualism only leads to mechanism because it has such a hard demarcation between the soul and the body, which entails the body to be some machine or tool that is not integrally associated with the body. Thirdly, Conway says that dualism cannot account for the interaction between mind and body regardless of what Descartes says about the mind-body union because dualists see mechanical motion as the only type of movement possible for material entities. Dualist philosophers seem to think that mind and body are defined by the exclusion of characteristics, as two things that do not have anything in common cannot influence each other. This argument fails to recognize the explicit interaction and communication between the two. Conway’s persistent advocating for bodies containing both material and spiritual units, or monads, as one entity without any essential difference accounts for the presence of body and spirit in a creature, along with the activity and sensibility of the body and the interaction between body and …show more content…
Following, because the properties of the mind and body are incompatible, the mind and body are distinguished (Descartes, 54). I would like to respond by highlighting a hole in Descartes’ argument where he claims the mind can function without the body: how is it that the mind can operate without the body if the pineal gland that is within the mind, also called the “principle seat of the soul,” by Descartes in his Treatise of Man, is altered or removed? “The pineal gland played a major role in Descartes ' account because it was involved in sensation, imagination, memory and the causation of bodily movements,” (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). Obviously, the pineal gland was imperative to Descartes, but consider a pinealectomy or brain damage that alters mental function. How, then, can the mind (also called the “soul” by Descartes), be indivisible and manage without the

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