Paul churchlands argument against dualism essay

If EM proponents fail to make their own position plausible or even coherent, how do they fare as critics of alternative views? I considered using this illustrationbut it seemed a bit impolite. First, his summary of the case for dualism is no good. Second, his arguments against dualism are no good either.

Paul churchlands argument against dualism essay

What forms does dualism take? Two of the most significant problems with dualism are i the problem of brain functioning and ii the problem of causal efficacy.

Explain what these problems are. Can any form of dualism overcome these problems? Before we look at the different strands of dualist theory, it is useful to begin with a generalised dualist model.

The physical world is everything that we can see, touch and hear, or as Descartes, a pioneering substance dualist put it, anything that is extended in space, with length, breadth or height as an indicating factor. It is this, according to the dualists that makes up the mind and provides us, as human beings, with the ability to reason, calculate and be emotional or introspective.

It is important to note at this point the spiritual factor of dualism, as it will come up later in the discussion as an important point of contention.

With this definition in mind, we can briefly look at the various strands of dualism. They have been broken into two broad categories: Descartes was a proponent of Cartesian dualism, and as he saw it, the mind is not your material body but instead a non-spatial substance all of its own, devoted purely to thinking.

It essentially holds that there is no substance beyond the human brain, but that the brain has special emergent properties that are both non-physical and irreducible. One strand, called epiphenomenalism, goes so far to suggest that these emergent properties are merely by-products of preconceived actions of our brains.

According to this view, freewill is essentially negated. Another position holds that these emergent properties are actually in constant interaction and have causal effects on one another.

This position is called interactionist property dualism. As demonstrated by Churchland, substance dualism can be easily defeated by the problem of brain functioning.

To paraphrase his argument, if the mind really is distinct from the brain, then it follows that impairments to the brain from outside influences like alcohol, drugs, senility, or damage should have no effect on the mind.

However, it is a truism to say that this is not the case. Essentially, the procedure was designed to reduce the severity of epileptic seizures from particularly affected sufferers, and involved separating the brains two hemispheres at their communication point, in effect preventing communication between the two.

Principally of interest here, were the experiments done on patients who had received the operation. The linking factor here is the problem of causal efficacy, or in other words, the way in which the dualist claims the physical body and the non-physical mind interact. How indeed does a non-physical substance affect the workings of the brain?

If it indeed has no spatial extension or position, how does it transcend the physical world to cause actions, and conversely, how does it receive stimuli such as pain, for example that would by most accounts seem purely physical?

Unfortunately for the dualist, at this point in time, his answer is purely speculative. Whereas the materialist can speak with passion about the complex workings of neurones and cells and electricity working between the spinal cord and the brain, the dualist has no established basis for his explanations of causal efficacy, and instead has to exercise a deifying belief in a purely speculative non-physical substance.

The reason that the progress of the philosophy of mind has been so inextricably bogged down for hundreds of years is that the stakes are simply too high. The classical dualist and forgive the generalisation is not arguing for the sake of intellectual stimulation; he is arguing to preserve the very foundation of his lifestyle; he is arguing to uphold one of the key aspects of his religion and thus arguing to preserve the status quo.

If he is defeated by the arguments of the materialist, he must sacrifice an aspect of his religion and most probably far more as well. For the implications of dualism go far beyond the petty confines of the nature of human intelligence. The tragedy for dualists is: Right now, materialism faces the same opposition as evolution.

Both are far more potent as theories in terms of scientific support and logical coherency than their religiously based alternatives, and yet both face savage opposition from people who are arguing for more than just philosophical progress. Thus, dualism is a dead-end, or as philosopher Daniel Dennett put it: The dualist appeal lies in its universality.

The argument for introspection is an interesting and undeniably compelling one. Essentially, our mind is so unbelievably complex and layered that it feels genuinely impossible to factor it all down to biology and structure.

When we look in on ourselves, we do not see neurones or frontal lobes or surging electricity; instead we feel thoughts and desires, impulses and emotions. They have nothing to do with the mind. They negate its profound truth… [23] Camus expresses here the doubts and anxieties of Everyman.Churchland(s) critique Dualism (Paul Churchland here.) Ockham’s Razor argument (Against all kinds of dualism) “This is not yet a decisive point against dualism, since neither dualism nor materialism can yet explain all of thh b lidB h bj ihe phenomena to be explained.

But the objection. The Concept of Dualism Essay; The Concept of Dualism Essay.

Dualism’s Defence

The first major argument against dualism is simplicity. Materialists Show More. Related. Dualism of Human Nature Essay and challenges of René Descartes’ concept of dualism and then defend my preferred alternative among the options Paul M.

Churchland discusses.

Paul churchlands argument against dualism essay

After briefly. Dec 11,  · This essay attempts to take a critical look at dualism and then enumerate some of the arguments for and against it.

Paul Churchland – Reality Consists of Matter Essay – Free Papers and Essays Examples

It will, finally, through a process of research-based extrapolation, suggest that a firm rejection of dualism is the only viable option to ensure the further development of the philosophy of mind. Dec 21,  · Churchland identifies four; he calls them the argument from religion, the argument from introspection, the argument from irreducibility, and the argument from parapsychology.

To anyone familiar with the philosophical literature on dualism, this list cannot fail to seem very odd. Arguments Against Dualism: The Argument from Simplicity (Ockham's Razor) DEFINITION: Ockham's Razor (William of Ockham ) - when considering two alternative explanations, if all else is equal, the simpler of the two explanations is probably correct.

Paul churchlands argument against dualism essay

Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind–body problem is a paradigm issue in philosophy of mind, although other issues are addressed, such as the hard problem of consciousness, and the nature of particular mental states.

Aspects of the mind that are studied include mental events, mental .

Fodor, Jerry | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy