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Substance dualism is necessary for beings to have free will - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Substance Dualism is Necessary for Beings to Have Free Will Substance dualism, Descartes most famous philosophical thought, is necessary for beings to have free will because it allows for the separation of minds from bodies (Calef); according to substance dualism, our minds and bodies are separate entities that can exist apart as two distinct entities…
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Substance dualism is necessary for beings to have free will
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Substance dualism is necessary for beings to have free will

Since the mind is not physical, it cannot be bound by physical laws that govern the body, thus, beings are free not only to do as they please, but also to do otherwise than they usually do. In this respect, responsible human actions are not related to mechanical causation as presupposed by materialism, the philosophical belief that humans are physical beings whose motions are bound by laws of physics (Wartick). A strong sense of free will is supported by dualism, unlike other philosophical thoughts such as materialism because, according to Descartes, humans have an infinite will to act involuntarily and to be held accountable for their actions, and an understanding capable of showing those clear and distinct perceptions. This paper proposes that substance duality is necessary for individuals to have a free will, not only to do as they please, but also to do contrary to their conventional ways by building a strong case for duality and disqualifying contrary opinion. Intentionality, often referred to as the ‘of-ness’ or ‘about-ness’ of mental states is undoubtedly the strongest argument in favor of dualism (“Case for dualism”); physical objects are spatial and have specific shapes unlike mental states such as thoughts and senses that are non-spatial. However, physical objects cannot be about or of each other because ‘about-ness’ or ‘of-ness’ is exclusively a mental phenomenon that is not within the physical realms, therefore, the lack of an equivalent of the intentionality phenomenon in the physical reality is a strong case for duality. On the contrary, mental states have ‘about-ness’ and ‘of-ness’; for instance, if one thinks that a certain painting is beautiful, then it means that the individual’s thought that the painting is beautiful is about the painting and cannot be reduced to any conceivable physical fact about the individual’s mind. Additionally, the fact that the individual’s thought that a painting is beautiful is about the painting cannot be identified with their disposition to react in certain ways like exclaiming and marveling verbally after viewing the painting. In this respect, an individual’s thinking is beyond the mere predisposition or tendency to act in certain ways because if that was not the case then it would automatically imply that individuals would never be aware of what they were thinking about until and after a corresponding behavior has been manifested physically. The implication for this intentionality argument, therefore, is that intentional mental states are purely holistic in nature and are not dependent on any physical manifestation, and because of its intentionality, the mind is very distinct from material non-mental things that are purely physical and mechanical in nature. In this respect, since no physical phenomenon has that aspect, intentionality is not a construct of the physical world, but a mental phenomenon; the absence of a counterpart feature in physical materialism proves that it is possible for the mental to exist separately, unaffected by the physical. Following this intentionality argument, dualism provides strong case for free will because then it implies that individuals have a limitless capacity to think on their own accord and to act on their own accord as well, voluntarily. The intentionality feature makes a great case for the argument that the mind and the body are purely ... Read More
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