Mind-Body Debate Is Central Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1275 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Black Studies - Philosophy

The human body and mind are completely different, and both are different from God. On a metaphysical level, this suggests a fragmented view of reality, causality, and the universe. Sensations in the body are caused by movements in the mind, which are in turn stimulated by the will of God. While satisfying for the deist, the Malebranche argument of occasionalism is unsatisfying on several levels. For one, it requires belief in an absolute God, which has a mind of Its own. Second, occasionalism implies that human will and thought are entirely passive in nature.

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Thus, Malebranche's duality can be reinterpreted to offer a second, related theory of mind-body interaction. That second theory may retain a belief in God but places a greater emphasis on human will and individuality. Unfortunately, the theory is itself dualistic in nature: either the body creates the mind, or the mind creates the body. When the body creates the mind, it is because the brain with all its electrical impulses and biochemical events creates the illusion that a human mind exists. In reality the mind does not exist at all, and it is simply an illusion. On the contrary, the theory allows for the mind to cause the body in that sensations of pleasure and happiness in the mind lead to sensations of pleasure and happiness in the body. These are satisfying theories of mind, in that they allow for a nuanced vision of human consciousness. Consciousness is, in both cases, somewhat illusory and dependent on God but it remains also distinct from the body. The body remains on a lower order of metaphysical structure, in which God is at the pinnacle of the hierarchy.

Term Paper on Mind-Body Debate Is Central to Assignment

Liebniz's doctrine of pre-established harmony actually does not differ much from this latter thesis. However, there are significant differences insofar as the Liebniz doctrine does not presume causality at all. Like Mahayana Buddhism, the Liebniz doctrine of pre-established harmony suggests a type of co-dependent origination. There is no need for God in this metaphysical construct; there is no metaphysical hierarchy with God at the top. However, there is "intra-substantial causality," meaning that the mind and the body can co-create each other (Kulstad and Carlin 1). The co-creation of mind and body solves the main problem associated with the second Malebranche thesis offered above. That is, the mind creates the body and the body creates the mind. Simultaneous co-creation is a philosophy of mind that precludes the need for the belief in an absolute deity that is a presumed cause of both body and mind. Moreover, the co-dependent origination of mind and body explains the subtle interactions that take place between both and ties in well with modern consciousness research that posits the role of the brain. Using Liebeiz's theory of mind, consciousness can be reduced to material functions like neurons in the brain, but even the illusion of mind is meaningful in that it also has causal power to influence the body. There is a biofeedback mechanism, which allows the mind to influence the body just as the body influences the mind.

This paper has shown that the mind-body problem is best resolved through monism and the doctrine of pre-established harmony. Pre-established harmony explains why a person who is physically sick is more prone to feeling depressed; and why a depressed person is more likely to report feeling physically ill. This paper also shows how Liebniz's metaphysics and philosophy of mind differs from Malebranche's Cartesian dualism. Although Malebranche offers viable solutions to the mind-body problem within a theistic framework, an atheistic framework more adequately answers the question.

Works Cited

Kulstad, Mark and Carlin, Laurence. "Leibniz's Philosophy of Mind." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013. Retrieved online: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/leibniz-mind/#DenMinBodIntAssPreEstHar

Schmaltz, Tad. "Nicholas Malebrance." Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 2013. Retrieved online: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/malebranche/ [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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