The Mind Body Problem

Essay by hunter6817College, Undergraduate April 2004

download word file, 4 pages 5.0

The Mind-Body Problem

The mind-body problem can be broken down into a series of questions. What is the mind? What is the body? Do the mind and body co-exist, or does the mind only exist in the body? Or does the body only exist in the mind? If both the mind and body exist, there could be a number of types of relationships. Maybe the mind affects the body. Maybe the body affects the mind, or maybe the mind and body both affect each other. The later possibility is called Dualist Interactionism, and is, in my mind, the most likely to be accurate. In this essay I will describe what this dualist theory is, and explain why I believe it to be true.

This mind-body problem that has been intriguing philosophers for a long time can be divided into two broad categories: dualism and monism. According to dualism, mind and body are two separate substances.

There are several types of dualist views including parallelism, epiphenomenalism, occassionalism and interactionism. John Locke and Rene Descartes are among those who laid the foundation of this idea. Whereas Locke and Descartes believed in Dualism, there were other famous philosophers and thinkers who supported two kinds of monism: ideal monism and material monism. Monism is the theory where the mind and body are inseparable and are each influenced by the other.

Berkeley and Aristotle were some of the well-known theorists who believed in monism though their views differed slightly. Monist arguments were in direct contrast with dualist views, but it was the philosophical writings of René Descartes and his dualism theory that paved the way for further debate and discussion in this important mind-body issue. The whole problem revolves around the question, "Is mind the same thing as body? And if yes, how? And...