Examine the strengths and weaknesses of Dualism.

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Dualism is the belief that reality consists of two different, separate substances: that of the mental and that of the physical. "In philosophy of mind, the belief that the mental and physical are deeply different in kind: thus the mental is at least not identical with the physical." It directly opposes materialism, as dualism dictates that the mind is unidentifiable to the body, as opposed to stating that the mind and body exist as one. The concept of dualism is not only fundamental in philosophy, but also affects our thoughts on science, religion and psychology: for example, if a convincing rejection of dualism can be formulated, the materialist approach of modern science will be vindicated. If, conversely, dualism can be convincingly maintained, then our evidence obtained from studies of the brain would simply not suffice in gaining any form of insight into the human mind. Dualism is a logical necessity: sustained as a question that does not need to be answered as it can be fulfilled a priori, owing to the fact that humans have the ability to seek introspection regularly.

Indeed, we experience the separation between our body and mind, which would support the notion that they are separate entities and empirical evidence is not required to prove such a concept. However, this does not mean that dualistic theory is foolproof: for example, can our experience be enough to prove such a concept? Indeed, many philosophers are not in favour of dualistic ontology. In the course of addressing this question, the origins of the mind and body problem will be discussed, which will then permit a fully focussed evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of Cartesian Interactionist Dualism. Whilst looking at the support for Descartes' theory I will explore arguments from Madell, David Chalmers and T.H Huxley amongst...