Arguments Against Dualism

600 Words3 Pages
Philosophy of mind has a dilemma: On the one hand, much of reality is explainable with purely physical terms. This forms the foundation of modern science, one of the main pillars of the modern world. On the other hand, with human beings, there is least an appearance of a mental realm, because we seem to have features such as free will. This appearance is recognizable even to those who are committed to physicalism. The question for philosophers of mind is, if the mind is immaterial and invisible, then how can we know whether or not it exists?

Dualism’s answer is that human beings do have a mental component distinct from our physical bodies. It embraces the existence of free will and other mental aspects that seem to make humans unique from other creatures. To support dualism, Jaegwon Kim presents the following argument:

“Suppose I am identical with this body of mine.” (Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind, page 42). If that were the case, then I would be necessarily identical with my body, meaning that I am
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That statement is an assertion, which acts as a premise for the conclusion that I am not identical with my body. However, I think that a non-dualist would simply reject the premise as an unsupported assertion.

I find Kim’s argument convincing, though I also have to admit that I do have a bias towards dualism. To me, it seems clear that there is some part of human beings that is distinct from their body. For one thing, I think we make free choices, which, if true, certainly differentiates us from the rest of the purely physical universe. Given that framework, it makes sense that the social sciences can't make predictions like physical sciences can. The social sciences rely on correlation and statistics, not laws – because we have never discovered any "laws" in the social
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