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substance dualism

the view that two elements (body and mind) are two wholly different substances


according to Descartes how does the mind and body interact

-through the pineal gland, which according to Descartes is the seat of imagination and common sense.

- although the pineal gland provided a physical link, it is unclear how this interaction works. Modern science has shown that the pineal gland is actually used to produce hormones


main scholar to use for substance dualism



main scholar to criticise Descartes



Ryle's 'the ghost in the machine' criticism of Descartes

-the ghost is the mind and the machine is the body

-how could a ghostly immaterial substance affect and control a material body? It would be like a ghost trying to ride a bicycle. This doesn't make sense.


why does Peter Geach disagree with the views of dualists

-disagrees with Descartes and Plato idea that the soul and body are separate.
-'Man is a sort of body, not a body plus an immaterial somewhat'. Doesn't believe in a souls


why does G.E.M Anscombe disagree with Dualists like Descartes

-she sees the body and soul as one
-gives the example of pointing. The meaning and significance behind the pointing can't be deduced by bodily action alone, it requires a description of the thought (e.g. I am pointing at the chair because)
-but equally, the thought requires a body to act.
-the physical gesture has a meaning behind itself, there is an additional intention, it is the act of a human as a whole , both body and spirt


Richard Swinburne argues that humans have souls which are distinct from physical bodies. Explain his views

-soul is capable of surviving after death
-there are fundamental truths about us individuals which cannot be explained in purely physical terms.
-it is because we have souls that we recognise goodness
-our souls have consciences and let's us know when we are right/wrong


Keith Ward believes in the soul and that is distinct from the body. Explain his thoughts

-our souls is what gives us that special dignity of being human rather than simply being animal
-without the soul, humanity lacks any sense of final purpose


Define monism and the two types of monism

monism= the view that humans are one substance only

The two types of monism are materialism and idealism.

Materialism =we have one single nature which is entirely physical

Idealism =we have one single nature which is entirely meta-physical. The physical world, including our body, is an illusion


main scholar for hard materialism

Richard Dawkins


explain Richard Dawkins views

-Life is simply bytes of digital information, contained with DNA
-in the future science will be able to explain it in purely material/physical terms
-two types of souls
-soul 1 is a non material life force, an ancient idea. It has been killed/is being killed by science.
-soul 2 is the intellect and is an inherent part of being human which one day will be explained by science
-only explanation is evolution -we are the way we are due to our genetic makeup, not souls


criticisms of materialism

1. mind/body problem. How do they interact if we have one single nature which is entirely physical

2. the existence of the non material (e,g, ideas, feelings)


identity theory is another hard materialist view. Explain it

-used to support Dawkin's
-claims that all mental activity is centred in the brain.
-drugs can alter personality, mood or behaviour and so these elements cannot be linked to an immaterial soul
-in this view, when physical life ends, mental activity ceases.


evidence to support materialism

-research from NASA has developed sensors placed on the throat which can detect words said silently to oneself and functional magnetic scanners have been used to detected when the subjects attention moves to different images.
-this could suggest that mental activity are caused by physical events in the brain. This then could support materialism


what is the soul/body/mind topic about

the issue of consciousness and personal identity
-am I someone who is a body?
-am I someone who has a body?
-am I someone who represents a complex, psycho-physical whole

problem of whether mind and body are one or whether we have two natures. If they are separate entities, then a problem of how they interrelate arises


define identity

-what criteria are there for deciding exactly what constitutes a person?
-can what makes a person a person be identified?


what is Ryle suggesting

we should avoid the pitfalls of dualism and materialism

Instead he sought to clarify and explore the ideas of consciousness


explain the criticism of materialism from the idea of moral responsibility

- difficult to see how free will is compatible with the theory that all brain events are physically determined

- However, Donald Mackay argues that even if it were possible to know all factors that caused brain events and be able to predict future action, the person could still make a choice, perhaps a different action and thus maintain responsibility for it.