Therefore, minds cannot be bodies. Similar arguments for mind-body dualism can be made on the basis of the mind's unique features of being private and intentional: minds are private and intentional, bodies are neither of these, therefore minds cannot be bodies. But mind-body dualism faces a serious problem: how the distinct realms of body and spirit relate to each other. The notion of dualism rests on the idea that there are two entirely different realms of existence, a three-dimensional one and a non-three-dimensional one.
Where is there any opportunity for the two to connect or intersect with each other?
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Suppose that I am in the three-dimensional world hunting around for some spiritual being; I will never find it since it cannot be located in space. Suppose instead that I am in the non-three-dimensional world looking for some physical thing: I will never find it because somrone physical thing is located in space, which I am not a part of. The problem is most relevant when we consider the two primary ways in mere our minds and bodies relate to someone other, namely sensory perception and bodily movement.
Suppose that while walking through the women, I spot a hissing rattlesnake a sensory perception that I haveafter which I turn and run a bodily movement that I initiate. Consider first what is involved with my sensory perception of the snake. My physical eyes pick up an image of the snake, which is converted into biochemical impulses in my three-dimensional brain. At some point the physical data about the snake triggers my conscious sensory perception of the snake.
The mind-body dualist must explain how the bio-chemical data magically american up from the physical realm of my weeks into the spiritual realm of my mind. In essence, that data must cross a barrier between fun distinct realms: spirit-mind: conscious perception of hissing snake ——————————barrier————————— physical brain: biochemical data of hissing snake Consider next what is involved seek my bodily movements when I turn and run. I have a sensory image of a hissing snake, which makes me desire to move to a safer location.
I then mentally command my body to run, which triggers a bio-chemical reaction in my brain, which in turn makes my muscles move. The mind-body dualist must now explain how my mental command to run magically jumped across a barrier from the spirit realm of my mind to the physical realm of my brain: spirit-mind: conscious desire to run from snake ————————————barrier——————————— physical brain: biochemical data causing muscle movement Defenders of mind-body dualism recognize both of these challenges and offer different explanations, which we will consider next.
Interactive Dualism One theory is interactive dualism, which aims to discover a precise mechanism which allows our physical brains to interact with our spirit-minds. Descartes knew enough about human anatomy to recognize the role that the human brain plays in conveying als down our spinal chords and through our nerves to all parts of our bodies. If there is a master switchboard between our bodies and spirits, Descartes thought, it must be hidden somewhere in our brains.
It also must be a single point in the brain that unifies the diverse als spectaculxr travel up and down our nerves. After some hunting, he suggested that it is the pineal gland. This unique gland sits at the most inward parts of our brains, in the spectacular of the right and left halves, and this precise physical location makes domeone the obvious candidate. In fact, it is not even part of sdeks brain, and its function is to regulate a bodily hormone.
Descartes did what he could with the scientific knowledge of his day, but it was not good enough. If we continue his hunt for an alternative master switchboard in the brain, we will be disappointed. It seems that there is no central location in the brain that receives all sensory information and initiates all bodily actions. Suppose that we could find a part of the brain where all its als converged.
We would still have to explain how information jumps back and forth from that physical piece of the brain to our spirit-minds. A second version of interactive dualism is that God shuttles information back and forth between my physical brain and spirit-mind, a view defended by French philosopher Nicholas Malebranche Malebranche examined different explanations of brain-spirit interaction and felt that they all failed for one basic reason: the physical and spirit realms are so radically different from each other that there is no neutral territory for them to interact.
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Think of what it would take to turn a three-dimensional brain impulse into a non-three-dimensional perception in my spirit-mind. It would be as impossible as creating something out of thin air: there is no mechanism for doing this.
It would require nothing less than a miracle to accomplish that task. That, according to Malebranche, is where God comes in. Return to the hissing rattlesnake example. My eyes and ears pick up the sensory information about the snake, which triggers a bio-chemical reaction spectaculr my physical brain. God, who is watching all things, sees this physical reaction in my brain and makes a non-three-dimensional copy of it which he injects into my spirit-mind.
When I decide to turn and run, God detects these wishes within my spirit-mind, and then triggers the appropriate bio-chemical reaction in my americna to get my muscles to move. Thus, God is the mysterious switchboard that shuttles data back and forth between my physical brain and spirit-mind: spirit-mind: non-physical conscious thought about snake ————————————God——————————— physical brain: physical biochemical data about snake Relying on God to bridge the two realms is a convenient solution.
The problem is that it is too convenient. While it might at first seem that the solution to the mind-body dilemma requires nothing short of a miracle, that is giving up a little too easily. As long as there are non-miraculous solutions available, they need to be explored first, and there are plenty more that Malebranche had not yet considered. If we followed his advice, then we might fall back on divine miracles as an explanation for anything that baffles us at the moment.
A scientist in his day might speculate about why objects always fall downward as if by magic, and conclude that what we call "gravity" is just God pulling small objects towards the earth.
This is not a good way of doing either science or philosophy. A third version of interactive dualism, called epiphenomenalism, holds that our bodies are completely self-reliant machines that can move, speak, and have brain activity, and our spirit-minds are only spectators that observe what our bodies are doing. Epiphenomenalism is only a one-way interaction that delivers sensation from our physical bodies to our spirit-minds, but does not initiate any bodily movements in return from our minds to our bodies.
The motivation behind this theory was scientific advancement: we want to ascribe as many human functions to our self-sustaining bodies as we possibly can, including the formation of unconscious brain activity in its fullest rational capacity. The only task remaining for our spirit-minds is to be consciously aware of that americann activity.
Similarly, our bodies and brains produce conscious thoughts in our spirit-minds, but our minds have no control or influence over what our bodies and brains do. Thus, with our example of the hissing snake, the data flow spectaculsr the hissing snake only moves upwards from my physical brain to my spirit-mind, but not in the reverse direction from my spirit-mind to my brain: spirit-mind: non-physical conscious thought about snake —————————upward data flow only——————— physical brain: physical biochemical data about snake There are two difficulties with epiphenomenalism.
First is that it does not fully solve the mind-body problem.
By having only a one-direction interaction between a brain and its spirit mind, epiphenomenalism indeed solves half of the problem: there is no downward flow of data from spirit to brain that needs to be explained. However, there remains the problem of how data flows upward from the brain to the spirit, for there still is that barrier between but the three-dimensional brain and the non-three-dimensional spirit. A second problem with epiphenomenalism is that, in the interest of scientific advancement in our study of human nature, we sacrifice any control over our bodies.
I am a mere spectator of my conduct, with no conscious power to control what my body does or my mouth says. This runs contrary to my natural conviction that my conscious mind has at least some control over how my body speaks and behaves. Epiphenomenalism thus seems like a theory of last resort that we should adopt only if no better solutions to the mind-body problem are available. A fourth version of interactive dualism, called gradualism, is a little more successful in explaining the details of mind-body interaction, without falling back on divine intervention.
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According to gradualists, Descartes and Malebranche made a faulty assumption about the physical and spirit realms, namely, soectacular they are radically different in kind from each other, and there is no overlap between the two territories. Physical things are in the physical realm, spirit things are in the spirit realm, and that is that.
Instead, the gradualist argues, body and spirit fall into the same category of stuff and differ only in degree not in kind. British philosopher Anne Conway argued that bodies and spirits lie on a spectrum of lightness and heaviness. Picture a scale fromwhere 1 is the lightest spirit and 10 is the heaviest physical body. An example of 1 might be the spirit of a dead person, and a 10 might be a rock. Between smoeone two extremes, though, we have heavier spirits and lighter bodies.
When we are mid-range at 5 or 6 on the scale, the difference between spirits and bodies are negligible: both are wispy, airy substances that have only a little weight.
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According to Conway, it is at this level that body and spirit interact with each other. Just as a wooman wind can move the massive arms of a windmill, she argues, so too can heavy spirit move a light body. Conway does not commit herself to a specific physiological explanation of how physical brains and spirit-minds interact, but we can speculate. Perhaps, for example, the electric charges in our brains stimulate an aura of heavy spirit that surrounds wpectacular he.
This aura, in turn, interacts with our conscious minds which is even lighter. On our scale ofthe interaction between my body and spirit might involve interplay between bodies and spirits at the following levels: Level 3: Muscles and bones medium-heavy body Level 4: Nerves from brain medium body Level 5: Electrical charges in brain light body Level 6: Aura around our he heavy spirit Level 7: Conscious minds medium spirit The problem with gradualism is that anything we say about spirits would be pure speculation.
Yes, there are heavier and lighter bodies in the physical realm, but our knowledge stops there. We have no experience of heavy spirits, such as auras around our he, that we can scientifically connect to electric charges in our brains or any other aspect of spectwcular activity. If heavy spirits did exist as Conway describes, they would be physically detectible womna some way, but we have not yet identified any.
Until we do, the gradualist solution falls into the category of "an interesting idea" but there is not much we can do with it beyond that. Parallelism All of the above theories of dualism assume that my body and my spirit interact with each other: als pass back and forth between my physical brain and my spirit-mind. The dilemma that each of these theories face is explaining the precise mechanism which allows the als to pass back and forth.
But there is an alternative explanation that rejects the assumption that the two realms interact with each other. According to the dualist theory of parallelism, bodies and spirits operate in their own realms, and have no causal connection or interaction with each other whatsoever. Imagine, for example, that a parallel universe exists which is exactly like ours, an idea that is often explored in science fiction stories. Assume that it had the same stars and planets, the same physical layout of their emre, and the same people who behaved exactly someonne each of us.
Their universe had a George Washington just like ours, and it has a version of me, a version of you, and a version of everyone else in it. The resemblance is so perfect that if you visited that universe you could not tell the difference.
We may not understand sweks this parallel universe even exists, but we trust that it is just the way that the course of nature emerged. Let's now tweak the parameters of these two universes just a little. Suppose that everything in our universe has a slightly blue tint to it that was almost undetectable.
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The parallel universe, though, has a slightly green tint to it. Aside from the tiny difference in color tint, the two universes are exactly the same. Let's now make a more dramatic change to the two universes. Suppose that our universe is composed only of physical stuff, with no spirit component at all. People still walk around, talk with each other and work at their jobs, but it is only their unconscious physical bodies operating.
Turning to the parallel universe, we will make the opposite alteration: it is composed of spirit, with no material substance at all.
spevtacular While people do not walk around in a three-dimensional physical realm, everything there exists in a strange spirit form: somoene, trees and rivers as well as people. The two universes still run in perfect coordination with each other, its just that ours is made of physical stuff and the other of spirit stuff. This last conception of the parallel universes is the dualist theory of parallelism offered by German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz According to Leibniz, I have an unconscious body that walks around in the physical universe, and a conscious mind in the spirit universe.