Dualism Over Materialism

Submitted By ron93247
Words: 1276
Pages: 6

Philosophy 109

Dualism Over Materialism As we look at the mind body problem or the debate of whether or not humans contain a mind separate from a body, we find that there are two major views. There is the materialist view, and there is also the dualist view. Although, there has been no empirical evidence of the mind, does not mean it does not exist, but that our sciences are not yet advanced enough to find the evidence? We must not be intolerant to the fact that all advances in human nature were once unknown to the world. Can we therefore state that dualism is a better solution then materialism since it acknowledges the fact that the human body may contain a mind? As our sciences advance, we receive hope that we could one day discover a mind. Materialism is a monistic theory that takes the mind body problem to the micro level (atoms) instead of the macro level of the body. It holds that our body is governed by external “forces” if you will at the subatomic level to preform a function. This belief of the state of mind is referred to as functionalism. Some materialists further debate the existence of any mind. They deny the existence of anything non-material and claim the absence of purpose in the universe and we are governed by the laws of nature (Elliot 373-374). Some other materialists claim that the brain and mind are one in the same. The fact remains that all materialists believe that all private experiences can be explained by the movement of molecules. Because of the advancement of technology, materialism is often seen as a body reacting to a set of input and output receptors like machines. Functionalism is the deterministic view that all private experiences are caused by an external cause to perform a purpose. It has become more popular due to the advancing technology of our era. It states that all humans are advanced machines that are susceptible to external stimuli to cause us to preform a task. Much like a heater turns on when its too cold, we put sweaters on. We put the sweater on because we felt the cold. The external force of the cold told our internal mind or brain to combat the coldness with a sweater. It is functionalism that best severs as an argument for materialism yet it is still insufficient in some respects as John Beloff states in Minds or Machines. Beloff brings up the argument that functionalism can not account for “quaila” or the personal experiences of yourself (Beloff 416). These experiences are private to the person having them and are unknown to others. Functionalism accounts for what happens when events occur but not how they occur. Materialism is the blind ignorance of the other possibility, just because there is no evidence for a mind that has been found yet, doesn’t mean that there is not the possibility of it being there. This is where dualism serves as a better explanation to the problem. It is believed that there is a physical or material body, but also an immaterial mind. Dualism is the idea that personal or private experiences of the physical body such as feelings, thoughts and ideas, are sometimes caused by external forces but can also go vise versa. The mind has not been found, but we do know from the dualist account that it controls the inner consciousness and all the process in accordance to conscious thinking like thoughts, ideas, and desires. One form of dualism is interaction-ism which is a belief of the mind and body casually influencing each others; or the interaction of the the two, which is often seen as a common sense approach to the mind body problem. If you smash your finger while you are hammering, you throw the hammer down in pain. The hammer is the not the pain, it is the cause of it. We drop the hammer in spite of the pain caused by hitting your finger. The problem that we run into is how the immaterial mind can influence or control the material body. One way C.E.M. Joad tried to explain this in his paper The Mind as Distinct from the Body, were