Descartes’ Cartesian dualism
Philosopher and mathematician, René Descartes, wrote about “the mind-body problem” in the Meditations (1641). When asking the question “What am I?” Descartes concluded, “I am a thinking thing”. He reaches this conclusion by reasoning that he can doubt that he has a body, therefore he can doubt he is a material thing. But he cannot doubt that he is a conscious, thinking being. Descartes theory of Cartesian Dualism states that the mind and body are entirely distinct from one another. The mind could also exist without the body, as the body is not essential to what we are. They are also opposite in nature. The mind is unextended and indivisible, whereas the body is extended and divisible.
However, if the mind and body are separate entities how and why do we feel pain, pleasure and other sensations? Descartes, although believing the mind and body are separate, does admit that they are closely related to each other, forming a union. He states “I am not merely present in my body as a sailor is present in a ship, but that I am very closely joined, and, as it were, intermingled with it, so that I a
De Vries criticised Descartes as he thought Descartes was destabilizing the material base of our knowledge. He did not deem the mind and matter as substances. During Descartes lifetime, there were countless objections to his theory of the mind and body due to the way that it affected religion. There are a number of objections to Cartesian dualism. In conclusion, when taking these objections into account, a supporter of Cartesian dualism would not have the better of the argument. They saw Descartes as rejecting Aristotelianism, which also seemed to mean that he rejected the sense experience. Spinoza believed there is only one substance and that substance is God. The reason for this being that the Cartesian notion proclaims that the concept of a mind is more fundamental than the concept of a person. When we feel a tugging sensation in our stomach known as hunger, we know to eat something. He goes on to define sensations such as "nothing but confused modes of thinking which arise from the union and, as it were, intermingling of the mind with the body". In Cartesian terms this must be a statement about the body and its use of space, and a statement about the mind and its thought processes. Strawson states "there is not the slightest reason for thinking that this can be done"tm (p.