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Dualism and the Inconsistent Triad - Essay Example

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Dualism, as a view in the philosophy of mind is the cornerstone of the Classical mind-body problem and the other related problems such as the problem of interaction and so on. The main issue to be addressed here is whether it is possible to find a dualist reply to the problem…
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Dualism and the Inconsistent Triad
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Dualism and the Inconsistent Triad

ive up the world-view given by the theories of physics on the one hand and the quite intuitive idea that we have about the functioning of our own minds and bodies on the other.
Two important versions of dualism are Interactionism and Epiphenomenalism. The former view holds that mind and body, although being two mutually excluded and independent categories, interact together. The nature of interaction is bi-directional because the mental states affect the bodily states and the bodily states affect the mental states. Both the categories are causally efficacious. Epiphenomenalism, on the other hand holds that bodily states are causally active but mental states are causally inefficacious. Mental states therefore are epiphenomena in the sense that they have no causal power to act back on the body. Here the nature of interaction is uni-directional that is only from body to mind (Jacobsen, 66).
The interactionist dualist cannot deny the proposition (1) “the body is physical and the mind is non-physical” (Jacobsen, 68) because it is the fundamental thesis of any form of dualism. So also, being interactionists, they cannot deny the proposition (2) either, which says that “the mind affects body and the body affects the mind (Jacobsen, 68). The apparent inconsistency arises when the proposition (3) which says that “all physical changes can be completely explained by their physical causes” (Jacobsen, 68) gets added to the other two propositions to form a set. In order to avoid the inconsistency, the interactionist has to keep the propositions (1), (2) and (3) all true within the same set. If an interactionist hold only (1) and (3) as true, it would end up in epiphenomenalism (Jacobsen, 69). So the strategy to get around the inconsistency triad must be one which avoids this and for that, one has to identify a solution which supports the mind-body interaction.
The principle of the closure of physical laws says that all physical changes can be explained by their ... Read More
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