Dualists: Wikis


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René Descartes's illustration of dualism. Inputs are passed on by the sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the immaterial spirit.

In philosophy of mind, dualism is a set of views about the relationship between mind and matter, which begins with the claim that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical.[1]

Ideas on mind/body dualism originate at least as far back as Zarathushtra. Plato and Aristotle deal with speculations as to the existence of an incorporeal soul that bore the faculties of intelligence and wisdom. They maintained, for different reasons, that people's "intelligence" (a faculty of the mind or soul) could not be identified with, or explained in terms of, their physical body.[2][3]

A generally well-known version of dualism is attributed to René Descartes (1641), which holds that the mind is a nonphysical substance. Descartes was the first to clearly identify the mind with consciousness and self-awareness and to distinguish this from the brain, which was the seat of intelligence. Hence, he was the first to formulate the mind-body problem in the form in which it exists today.[4] Dualism is contrasted with various kinds of monism, including physicalism and phenomenalism. Substance dualism is contrasted with all forms of materialism, but property dualism may be considered a form of emergent materialism and thus would only be contrasted with non-emergent materialism.[5] This article discusses the various forms of dualism and the arguments which have been made both for and against this thesis.


Historical overview


Plato and Aristotle

In the dialogue Phaedo, Plato formulated his famous Theory of Forms as distinct and immaterial substances of which the objects and other phenomena that we perceive in the world are nothing more than mere shadows.[2] Plato's doctrine was the prototype of all future manifestations of substance dualism in ontology. But Plato's doctrine of the Forms is not to be considered some sort of ancient and superseded metaphysical notion because it has precise implications for the philosophy of mind and the mind-body problem in particular.

Plato makes it clear, in the Phaedo, that the Forms are the universalia ante rem, i.e. they are universal concepts (or ideas) which make all of the phenomenal world intelligible. Consequently, in order for the intellect (the most important aspect of the mind in philosophy up until Descartes) to have access to any kind of knowledge with regard to any aspect of the universe, it must necessarily be a non-physical, immaterial entity (or property of some such entity) itself. So, it is clear on the basis of the texts that Plato was a very powerful precursor of Descartes and his subsequent more stringent formulation of the doctrine of substance dualism.[2]

Aristotle strongly rejected Plato's notion of Forms as independently existing entities. In the Metaphysics, he already points to the central problems with this idea.[3] On the one hand, if we say that the particulars of the phenomenal world participate or share in the Form, we seem to be destroying the Form's essential and indispensable unity. However, if we say that the particulars merely resemble, or are copies of, the Form, we seem to need an extra form to explain the connection between the members of the class consisting of the-particulars-and-the-form, and so on, leading to an infinite regress. This argument, originally formulated by Plato himself in the Parmenides, was later given the name of the "third man argument" by Aristotle.[3]

For these reasons, Aristotle revised the theory of forms so as to eliminate the idea of their independent existence from concrete, particular entities.[6] The form of something, for Aristotle, is the nature or essence (ousia, in Greek) of that thing. To say that Socrates and Callias are both men is not to say that there is some transcendent entity "man" to which both Socrates and Callias belong. The form is indeed substance but it is not substance over and above the substance of the concrete entities which it characterizes. Aristotle rejects both universalia in rebus as well as universalia ante rem.[6] Some philosophers and thinkers have taken this to be a form of materialism and there may be something to their arguments. However, what is important from the perspective of philosophy of mind is that Aristotle does not believe that intellect can be conceived of as something material. He argues as follows: if the intellect were material then it could not receive all of the forms. If the intellect were a specific material organ (or part of one) then it would be restricted to receiving only certain kinds of information, as the eye is restricted to receiving visual data and the ear is restricted to receiving auditory data. Since the intellect is capable of receiving and reflecting on all forms of data, then it must not be a physical organ and, hence, it must be immaterial.[6]

From Neoplatonism to Scholasticism

Early Christianity seems to have struggled to come to terms with the identification of a unique position with regard to the question of the relationship between mind and body, just as it struggled to define the relationship of the ontological status of Christ himself (see homoousianism, homoiousianism, Arianism, etc). In the early Middle Ages, a consensus seemed to emerge around what is now called Neoplatonism. The doctrines of Neoplatonism were essentially minor modifications on Plato's general ideas about the immortality of the soul and the nature of the Forms. The Neoplatonic Christians identified the Forms with souls and believed that the soul was the substance of each individual human being, while the body was just a shadow or copy of these eternal phenomena.[7]

Later philosophers, following in the neo-Aristotelian trail blazed by Thomas Aquinas, came to develop a trinitarian notion of forms which paralleled the Trinitarian doctrine of Father, Son and Holy Spirit: forms, intellect and soul were three aspects or parts of the same singular phenomenon. For Aquinas, the soul (or intellect) remained the substance of the human being, but, somewhat similarly to Aristotle's proposal, it was only through its manifestation inside the human body that a person could be said to be a person. While the soul (intellect or form) could exist independently of the body the soul by itself did not constitute a person. Hence, Aquinas suggested that instead of saying "St. Peter pray for us" one should rather say something like "soul of St. Peter pray for us", since all that remained of St. Peter, after his death, was his soul. All things connected with the body, such as personal memories, were cancelled out with the end of one's corporeal existence.[8]

There are different views on this question in modern Christianity. Official Catholic Church doctrine claims that at the Second Coming of Christ, the body is reunited with the soul at the resurrection, and the whole person (i.e. body and soul) then goes to Heaven or Hell. Hence, there is a sort of inseparability of soul, mind and body which is even more strongly reminiscent of Aristotle than the positions expressed by Thomas Aquinas.[9] A small minority of revisionist Protestant theologians do not accept this doctrine and insist, instead, that only the immaterial soul (and hence mind or intellect) goes to Heaven, leaving the body (and brain) behind it forever.[10]

Descartes and his disciples

In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes embarked upon a quest in which he called all his previous beliefs into doubt, in order to find out of what he could be certain.[4] In so doing, he discovered that he could doubt whether he had a body (it could be that he was dreaming of it or that it was an illusion created by an evil demon), but he could not doubt whether he had a mind. This gave Descartes his first inkling that the mind and body were different things. The mind, according to Descartes, was a "thinking thing" (lat. res cogitans), and an immaterial substance. This "thing" was the essence of himself, that which doubts, believes, hopes, and thinks. The distinction between mind and body is argued in Meditation VI as follows: I have a clear and distinct idea of myself as a thinking, non-extended thing, and a clear and distinct idea of body as an extended and non-thinking thing. Whatever I can conceive clearly and distinctly, God can so create. So, Descartes argues, the mind, a thinking thing, can exist apart from its extended body. And therefore, the mind is a substance distinct from the body, a substance whose essence is thought.[4]

The central claim of what is often called Cartesian dualism, in honour of Descartes, is that the immaterial mind and the material body, while being ontologically distinct substances, causally interact. This is an idea which continues to feature prominently in many non-European philosophies. Mental events cause physical events, and vice-versa. But this leads to a substantial problem for Cartesian dualism: How can an immaterial mind cause anything in a material body, and vice-versa? This has often been called the "problem of interactionism".

Descartes himself struggled to come up with a feasible answer to this problem. In his letter to Elisabeth of Bohemia, Princess Palatine, he suggested that animal spirits interacted with the body through the pineal gland, a small gland in the centre of the brain, between the two hemispheres.[4] The term "Cartesian dualism" is also often associated with this more specific notion of causal interaction through the pineal gland. However, this explanation was not satisfactory: how can an immaterial mind interact with the physical pineal gland? Because Descartes' was such a difficult theory to defend, some of his disciples, such as Arnold Geulincx and Nicholas Malebranche, proposed a different explanation: That all mind-body interactions required the direct intervention of God. According to these philosophers, the appropriate states of mind and body were only the occasions for such intervention, not real causes. These occasionalists maintained the strong thesis that all causation was directly dependent on God, instead of holding that all causation was natural except for that between mind and body.[11]

Types of mind-body dualism

Ontological dualism makes dual commitments about the nature of existence as it relates to mind and matter, and can be divided into three different types:

(1) Substance dualism asserts that mind and matter are fundamentally distinct kinds of substances.[1]
(2) Property dualism suggests that the ontological distinction lies in the differences between properties of mind and matter (as in emergentism).[1]
(3) Predicate dualism claims the irreducibility of mental predicates to physical predicates.[1]

Substance dualism

Substance dualism is a type of dualism most famously defended by Descartes, which states that there are two fundamental kinds of substance: mental and material.[5] According to his philosophy, which is specifically called Cartesian dualism, the mental does not have extension in space, and the material cannot think. Substance dualism is important historically for having given rise to much thought regarding the famous mind-body problem. Substance dualism is a philosophical position compatible with most theologies which claim that immortal souls occupy an independent "realm" of existence distinct from that of the physical world.[1] David Chalmers recently developed a thought experiment inspired by the movie The Matrix in which substance dualism could be true: Consider a computer simulation in which the bodies of the creatures are controlled by their minds and the minds remain strictly external to the simulation. The creatures can do all the science they want in the world, but they will never be able to figure out where their minds are, for they do not exist in their observable universe. This is a case of substance dualism with respect to computer simulation. This naturally differs from a computer simulation in which the minds are part of the simulation. In such a case, substance monism would be true.[12]

Property dualism

Property dualism asserts that an ontological distinction lies in the differences between properties of mind and matter, and that consciousness is ontologically irreducible to neurobiology and physics. It asserts that when matter is organized in the appropriate way (i.e., in the way that living human bodies are organized), mental properties emerge. Hence, it is a sub-branch of emergent materialism. Depending upon the type of property dualism, these mental states are claimed to be either exclusively non physical (subjective), or causally reducible to the physical (objective). What views properly fall under the property dualism rubric is itself a matter of dispute. There are different versions of property dualism, some of which claim independent categorisation. [13]

Causally irreducible mental states

The first type of Property Dualism asserts that one or more mental states are irreducible to physical states, yet do not have any influence on physical states. For example, Epiphenomenalism asserts that while material causes give rise to sensations, volitions, ideas, etc., such mental phenomena themselves cause nothing further: they are causal dead-ends. This can be contrasted to interactionism, on the other hand, in which mental causes can produce material effects, and vice-versa.[14]

Causally reducible mental states

The second type of Property Dualism asserts that all mental states are causally reducible to physical states. One argument for this has been expressed by John Searle, who is the advocate of a distinctive form of physicalism he calls biological naturalism. His view is that although mental states are ontologically irreducible to physical states, they are causally reducible (see causality). Since causal irreducibility is what counts in arguments over interactionism, Searle must be considered an opponent of such views. He believes the mental will ultimately be explained through neuroscience. This world view does not necessarily fall under property dualism, and therefore does not necessarily make him a "property dualist". He has acknowledged that "to many people" his views and those of property dualists look a lot alike. But he thinks the comparison is misleading.[15]

Predicate dualism

Predicate dualism is the view espoused by most nonreductive physicalists, such as Donald Davidson and Jerry Fodor, who maintain that while there is only one ontological category of substances and properties of substances (usually physical), the predicates that we use to describe mental events cannot be redescribed in terms of (or reduced to) physical predicates of natural languages.[16][17] If we characterize predicate monism as the view subscribed to by eliminative materialists, who maintain that such intentional predicates as believe, desire, think, feel, etc., will eventually be eliminated from both the language of science and from ordinary language because the entities to which they refer do not exist, then predicate dualism is most easily defined as the negation of this position. Predicate dualists believe that so-called "folk psychology", with all of its propositional attitude ascriptions, is an ineliminable part of the enterprise of describing, explaining and understanding human mental states and behavior.

Davidson, for example, subscribes to Anomalous Monism, according to which there can be no strict psycho-physical laws which connect mental and physical events under their descriptions as mental and physical events. However, all mental events also have physical descriptions. It is in terms of the latter that such events can be connected in law-like relations with other physical events. Mental predicates are irreducibly different in character (rational, holistic and necessary) from physical predicates (contingent, atomic and causal).[16]

Dualist views of mental causation

Four varieties of dualist causal interaction. The arrows indicate the direction of the interactions.


Interactionism is the view that mental states, such as beliefs and desires, causally interact with physical states. This is a position which is very appealing to common-sense intuitions, notwithstanding the fact that it is very difficult to establish its validity or correctness by way of logical argumentation or empirical proof. It seems to appeal to common-sense because we are surrounded by such everyday occurrences as a child's touching a hot stove (physical event) which causes him to feel pain (mental event) and then yell and scream (physical event) which causes his parents to experience a sensation of fear and protectiveness (mental event) and so on.[5]


According to epiphenomenalism, all mental events are caused by a physical event and have no physical consequences. So, the mental event of deciding to pick up a rock ("M") is caused by the firing of specific neurons in the brain ("P"). When the arm and hand move to pick up the rock ("E") this is not caused by the preceding mental event M, nor by M and P together, but only by P. The physical causes are in principle reducible to fundamental physics, and therefore mental causes are eliminated using this reductionist explanation. If P causes both M and E, there is no overdetermination in the explanation for E.[5]

The idea that even if the animal were conscious nothing would be added to the production of behavior, even in animals of the human type, was first voiced by La Mettrie (1745), and then by Cabanis (1802), and was further explicated by Hodgson (1870) and Huxley (1874)[18]


Psycho-physical parallelism is a very unusual view about the interaction between mental and physical events which was most prominently, and perhaps only truly, advocated by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz. Like Malebranche and others before him, Leibniz recognized the weaknesses of Descartes' account of causal interaction taking place in a physical location in the brain. Malebranche decided that such a material basis of interaction between material and immaterial was impossible and therefore formulated his doctrine of occasionalism, stating that the interactions were really caused by the intervention of God on each individual occasion. Leibniz's idea is that God has created a pre-established harmony such that it only seems as if physical and mental events cause, and are caused by, one another. In reality, mental causes only have mental effects and physical causes only have physical effects. Hence the term parallelism is used to describe this view.[14]


Occasionalism is a philosophical doctrine about causation which says that created substances cannot be efficient causes of events. Instead, all events are taken to be caused directly by God himself. The theory states that the illusion of efficient causation between mundane events arises out of a constant conjunction that God had instituted, such that every instance where the cause is present will constitute an "occasion" for the effect to occur as an expression of the aforementioned power. This "occasioning" relation, however, falls short of efficient causation. In this view, it is not the case that the first event causes God to cause the second event: rather, God first caused one and then caused the other, but chose to regulate such behaviour in accordance with general laws of nature. Some of its most prominent historical exponents have been Louis de la Forge, Arnold Geulincx, and Nicholas Malebranche.[11]

Non-reductive physicalism

According to non-reductive physicalism, all mental states are causally reducible to physical states where mental events map to physical events and vice-versa.

Arguments for dualism

Another one of Descartes' illustrations. The fire displaces the skin, which pulls a tiny thread, which opens a pore in the ventricle (F) allowing the "animal spirit" to flow through a hollow tube, which inflates the muscle of the leg, causing the foot to withdraw.

Subjective argument in support of dualism

A very important argument against physicalism (and hence in favor of some sort of dualism) consists in the idea that the mental and the physical seem to have quite different and perhaps irreconcilable properties.

Mental events have a certain subjective quality to them, whereas physical seem not to. So, for example, one may ask what a burned finger feels like, or what the blueness of the sky looks like, or what nice music sounds like.[19]

Philosophers of mind call the subjective aspects of mental events qualia (or raw feels). There is something that it's like to feel pain, to see a familiar shade of blue, and so on. There are qualia involved in these mental events. And the claim is that qualia seem particularly difficult to reduce to anything physical.[1]

Thomas Nagel, himself a physicalist, first characterized the problem of qualia for physicalistic monism in his article, "What is it like to be a bat?". Nagel argued that even if we knew everything there was to know from a third-person, scientific perspective about a bat's sonar system, we still wouldn't know what it is like to be a bat.

Frank Jackson formulated his famous knowledge argument based upon similar considerations. In this thought experiment, known as Mary's room, he asks us to consider a neuroscientist, Mary, who was born, and has lived all of her life, in a black and white room with a black and white television and computer monitor where she collects all the scientific data she possibly can on the nature of colours. Jackson asserts that as soon as Mary leaves the room, she will come to have new knowledge which she did not possess before: the knowledge of the experience of colours (i.e., what they are like). Although, by hypothesis, Mary had already known everything there is to know about colours from an objective, third-person perspective, she never knew, according to Jackson, what it was like to see red, orange, or green.

If Mary really learns something new, it must be knowledge of something non-physical, since she already knew everything there is to know about the physical aspects of colour.[20] David Lewis' response to this argument, now known as the ability argument, is that what Mary really came to know was simply the ability to recognize and identify color sensations to which she had previously not been exposed.[21] Daniel Dennett and others also provide arguments against this notion, see Mary's room for details.

Special sciences argument

This argument says that, if predicate dualism is correct, then there are special sciences which are irreducible to physics. These irreducible special sciences, which are the source of allegedly irreducible predicates, presumably differ from the hard sciences in that they are interest-relative. If they are interest-relative, then they must be dependent on the existence of minds which are capable of having interested perspectives. Psychology is, of course, the paragon of special sciences; therefore, it and its predicates must depend even more profoundly on the existence of the mental.

Physics, at least ideally, sets out to tell us how the world is in itself, to carve up the world at its joints and describe it to us without the interference of individual perspectives or personal interests. On the other hand, such things as the patterns of the weather seen in meteorology or the behavior of human beings are only of interest to human beings as such. The point is that having a perspective on the world is a psychological state. Therefore, the special sciences presuppose the existence of minds which can have these states. If one is to avoid ontological dualism, then the mind that has a perspective must be part of the physical reality to which it applies its perspective. If this is the case, then in order to perceive the physical world as psychological, the mind must have a perspective on the physical. This, in turn, presupposes the existence of mind.[14]

The zombie argument

The zombie argument is based on a thought experiment proposed by David Chalmers. The basic idea is that one can imagine, and therefore conceive the existence of, one's body without any conscious states being associated with it.

Chalmers' argument is that it seems very plausible that such a being could exist because all that is needed is that all and only the things that the physical sciences describe about a zombie must be true of it. Since none of the concepts involved in these sciences make reference to consciousness or other mental phenomena, and any physical entity can be by definition described scientifically via physics, the move from conceivability to possibility is not such a large one.[22]

Others such as Dennett have argued that the notion of a philosophical zombie is an incoherent [23], or unlikely [24], concept. In particular, nothing proves that an entity (e.g. a computer or robot) which would perfectly mimic human beings, and especially perfectly mimic expressions of feelings (like joy, fear, anger, ...), would not indeed experience them, thus having similar states of consciousness to what a real human would have. It is argued that under physicalism, one must either believe that anyone including oneself might be a zombie, or that no one can be a zombie - following from the assertion that one's own conviction about being (or not being) a zombie is a product of the physical world and is therefore no different from anyone else's.

Argument from personal identity

This argument concerns the differences between the applicability of counterfactual conditionals to physical objects, on the one hand, and to conscious, personal agents on the other.[25] In the case of any material object, e.g. a printer, we can formulate a series of counterfactuals in the following manner:

  1. This printer could have been made of straw.
  2. This printer could have been made of some other kind of plastics and vacuum-tube transistors.
  3. This printer could have been made of 95% of what it is actually made of and 5% vacuum-tube transistors, etc..

Somewhere along the way from the printer's being made up exactly of the parts and materials which actually constitute it to the printer's being made up of some different matter at, say, 20%, the question of whether this printer is the same printer becomes a matter of arbitrary convention.

Imagine the case of a person, Frederick, who has a counterpart born from the same egg and a slightly genetically modified sperm. Imagine a series of counterfactual cases corresponding to the examples applied to the printer. Somewhere along the way, one is no longer sure about the identity of Frederick. In this latter case, it has been claimed, overlap of constitution cannot be applied to the identity of mind. As Madell puts it:

"But while my present body can thus have its partial counterpart in some possible world, my present consciousness cannot. Any present state of consciousness that I can imagine either is or is not mine. There is no question of degree here."[25]

If the counterpart of Frederick, Frederickus, is 70% constituted of the same physical substance as Frederick, does this mean that it is also 70% mentally identical with Frederick? Does it make sense to say that something is mentally 70% Frederick?[26]

Argument from reason

Philosophers and scientists such as Victor Reppert, William Hasker and Alvin Plantinga have developed an argument for dualism dubbed the "Argument from Reason" and credit C.S. Lewis—who called it "The Cardinal Difficulty of Naturalism," the title of chapter three of the book—with first bringing the argument to light in his book Miracles.[27]

In short the argument holds that if, as thoroughgoing naturalism entails, all of our thoughts are the effect of a physical cause, then we have no reason for assuming that they are also the consequent of a reasonable ground. Knowledge, however, is apprehended by reasoning from ground to consequent. Therefore, if naturalism were true, there would be no way of knowing it—or anything else not the direct result of a physical cause—and we could not even suppose it, except by a fluke.[27]

By this logic, the statement "I have reason to believe naturalism is valid" is self-referentially incoherent in the same manner as the sentence "One of the words of this sentence does not have the meaning that it appears to have." or the statement "I never tell the truth" [28]. That is, in each case to assume the veracity of the conclusion would eliminate the possibility of valid grounds from which to reach it. To summarize the argument in the book, Lewis quotes J. B. S. Haldane who appeals to a similar line of reasoning:[29]

If my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain, I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true ... and hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms.

J. B. S. Haldane, Possible Worlds, page 209

In his essay Is Theology Poetry, Lewis himself summarises the argument in a similar fashion when he writes:

If minds are wholly dependent on brains, and brains on biochemistry, and biochemistry (in the long run) on the meaningless flux of the atoms, I cannot understand how the thought of those minds should have any more significance than the sound of the wind in the trees.

C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory, page 139

Causal Interaction

If consciousness (the mind) can exist independently of physical reality (the brain), one must explain how physical memories are created concerning consciousness. Dualism must therefore explain how consciousness affects physical reality.

One possible explanation is that of a miracle, proposed by Arnold Geulincx and Nicholas Malebranche, where all mind-body interactions require the direct intervention of God.

Although at the time C. S. Lewis wrote Miracles [30], Quantum Mechanics (and physical indeterminism) was only in the initial stages of acceptance, he stated the logical possibility that if the physical world was proved to be indeterministic this would provide an entry (interaction) point into the traditionally viewed closed system, where a scientifically described physically probable/improbable event could be philosophically described as an action of a non physical entity on physical reality.

Arguments against dualism

Causal interaction

One argument against Dualism is with regards to causal interaction. If consciousness (the mind) can exist independently of physical reality (the brain), one must explain how physical memories are created concerning consciousness. Dualism must therefore explain how consciousness affects physical reality. One of the main objections to dualistic interactionism is lack of explanation of how the material and immaterial are able to interact. Varieties of dualism according to which an immaterial mind causally affects the material body and vice-versa have come under strenuous attack from different quarters, especially in the 20th century. Critics of dualism have often asked how something totally immaterial can affect something totally material - this is the basic problem of causal interaction.

First, it is not clear where the interaction would take place. For example, burning one's fingers causes pain. Apparently there is some chain of events, leading from the burning of skin, to the stimulation of nerve endings, to something happening in the peripheral nerves of one's body that lead to one's brain, to something happening in a particular part of one's brain, and finally resulting in the sensation of pain. But pain is not supposed to be spatially locatable. It might be responded that the pain "takes place in the brain." But, intuitively, pains are not located anywhere. This may not be a devastating criticism. However, there is a second problem about the interaction. Namely, the question of how the interaction takes place , where in dualism the 'the mind' is assumed to be non physical and by definition outside of the realm of science. The mechanism which explains the connection between the mental and the physical would therefore be a philosophical proposition as compared to a scientific theory. For example, compare such a mechanism to a physical mechanism that is well understood. Take a very simple causal relation, such as when a cue ball strikes an eight ball and causes it to go into the pocket. What happens in this case is that the cue ball has a certain amount of momentum as its mass moves across the pool table with a certain velocity, and then that momentum is transferred to the eight ball, which then heads toward the pocket. Compare this to the situation in the brain, where one wants to say that a decision causes some neurons to fire and thus causes a body to move across the room. The intention to "cross the room now" is a mental event and, as such, it does not have physical properties such as force. If it has no force, then it would seem that it could not possibly cause any neuron to fire. However, with Dualism, an explanation is required of how something without any physical properties has physical effects.

By assuming a deterministic physical universe, the objection can be formulated more precisely. When a person decides to walk across a room, it is generally understood that the decision to do so, a mental event, immediately causes a group of neurons in that person's brain to fire, a physical event, which ultimately results in his walking across the room. The problem is that if there is something totally nonphysical causing a bunch of neurons to fire, then there is no physical event which causes the firing. This means that some physical energy is required to be generated against the physical laws of the deterministic universe - this is by definition a miracle and there can be no scientific explanation of (repeatable experiment performed regarding) where the physical energy for the firing came from.[31] Such interactions would violate the fundamental laws of physics. In particular, if some external source of energy is responsible for the interactions, then this would violate the law of the conservation of energy.[32] Dualistic interactionism has therefore been argued against in that it violates a general heuristic principle of science: the causal closure of the physical world.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy mentions two possible replies to this objection.[5] The first reply says that it might be possible for mind to influence the distribution of energy, without altering its quantity. Another possibility is to deny that human body is closed system. Since the principle of conservation of energy applies only to closed systems, the objection becomes irrelevant. Catholic Encyclopedia mentions the same replies.[33] These replies may protect the The Law of Conservation of Energy, but they do not in themselves offer an explanation of how the interaction takes place (- it may be assumed to be a miracle).

Another reply to this objection is to assume some modification of causal relations in the physical universe - Mills has responded by pointing out that mental events may be causally overdetermined. Causal overdetermination means that some features of an effect may not be fully explained by its sufficient cause. For example, "the high pitched music caused the glass to break but this is the third time that that glass has broken in the last week." It is certain that the high-pitched music is the sufficient cause of the breaking of the glass, but it does not explain the feature of the event that is identified by the phrase "this is the third time this week...". That feature is causally related, in some sense, to the two prior events of the glasses having broken in the last week. In response, it has been pointed out that we should probably focus on the inherent or intrinsic features of situations or events, if they exist, and apply the idea of causal closure to just those specific features.

Another reply to this objection is that there is a possibility that the interaction may involve dark energy, dark matter or some other currently undefined scientific process [14], however in this case dualism is replaced with physicalism, or the interaction point is left for study at a later time when these physical processes are understood.

Another reply to this objection is made with respect to the derivation of an indeterministic physical universe, where perhaps the interaction which takes place in the human body is not at all of the classical "billiard ball" type of Newtonian mechanics. There is an important question of physical determinism versus physical indeterminism. If a non deterministic interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct then events at the microscopic level are necessarily indeterminate, where the degree of determinism increases as a function of the scale of the system (see Quantum decoherence). One particular example of such indeterminism is Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, where the more precisely one can localize the position of an electron along an axis, the more imprecise becomes the ability to determine its linear momentum along this axis and vice-versa. Philosophers such as Karl Popper and John Eccles have theorized that such indeterminacy may apply even at the macroscopic scale.[34]

Argument from brain damage

This argument has been formulated by Paul Churchland, among others. The point is simply that when the brain undergoes some kind of damage (caused by automobile accidents, drug abuse or pathological diseases), it is always the case that the mental substance and/or properties of the person are significantly compromised. If the mind were a completely separate substance from the brain, how could it be possible that every single time the brain is injured, the mind is also injured? Indeed, it is very frequently the case that one can even predict and explain the kind of mental or psychological deterioration or change that human beings will undergo when specific parts of their brains are damaged. So the question for the dualist to try to confront is how can all of this be explained if the mind is a separate and immaterial substance from, or if its properties are ontologically independent of, the brain.[35] Property dualism and emergent dualism avoid this problem by asserting that the mind is a property or substance that emerges from the appropriate arrangement of physical matter, and therefore could be affected by any rearrangement.

Phineas Gage, who suffered destruction of one or both frontal lobes by a projectile iron rod, is often cited. Gage certainly exhibited mental changes after his accident, though the extent of those changes is less certain. But undoubtedly this physical event, the destruction of part of his brain, caused some kind of change in his mind, suggesting a correlation between brain states and mental states. Moreover, in more modern experiments, it can be demonstrated that the relation is much more than simple correlation. By damaging, or manipulating, specific areas of the brain repeatedly under controlled conditions, for example in monkeys, and obtaining the same results in terms of changes in mental state each time, neuroscientists have shown that the relation between damage to the brain and mental deterioration is causal.

Argument from biological development

Another common argument against dualism consists in the idea that since human beings (both phylogenetically and ontogenetically) begin their existence as entirely physical or material entities and since nothing outside of the domain of the physical is added later on in the course of development, then we must necessarily end up being fully developed material beings. Phylogenetically, the human species evolved, as did all other species, from a single cell made up of matter. Since all the events that later occurred which ended up in the formation of our species can be explained through the processes of random mutation and natural selection, the difficulty for the dualist is to explain where and why there could have intervened some non-material, non-physical event in this process of natural evolution. Ontogenetically, we begin life as a simple fertilized ovum. There is nothing non-material or mentalistic involved in conception, the formation of the blastula, the gastrula, and so on. Our development can be explained entirely in terms of the accumulation of matter through the processes of nutrition. The postulation of a non-physical mind would seem superfluous.

Argument from simplicity

The argument from simplicity is probably the simplest and also the most common form of argument against dualism of the mental. The dualist is always faced with the question of why anyone should find it necessary to believe in the existence of two, ontologically distinct, entities (mind and brain), when it seems possible and would make for a simpler thesis to test against scientific evidence, to explain the same events and properties in terms of one. It is a heuristic principle in science and philosophy not to assume the existence of more entities than is necessary for clear explanation and prediction (see Occam's razor). This argument was criticized by Peter Glassen in a debate with J. J. C. Smart in the pages of Philosophy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[36] Glassen argued that, because it is not a physical entity, Occam's Razor cannot consistently be appealed to by a physicalist or materialist as a justification of mental states or events, such as the belief that dualism is false.

Dualism in modern science

Problems of dualism

Criticisms of dualism have been very successful among modern scientists, and it is currently a minority view. Scientists commonly assume the materialist view that only the physical, and thus measurable, is real. Mental states and processes are viewed as biological states and processes. (Ref: More Is Different, P. W. Anderson, Science, New Series, Vol. 177, No. 4047. (Aug. 4, 1972), pp. 393–396.)

The function of dualism in modern science

If neuroscientists have adopted materialism over dualism, why does dualism persist in modern biological science? One possible explanation involves other underlying assumptions and biases regarding causality in the brain sciences. As DeGrandpre points out,

As technological advances have offered a closer look at the brain's connection to human thought and action, they have also enabled biological psychiatrists and neuroscientists to promote a dangerous institutional bias toward neurological reductionism. Spurred by funding from multimillion-dollar pharmaceutical companies and by the cultural penchant for quick fixes, such investigators frequently exploit the intellectual naivete of the media and the public by implying that any simple physiological correlate of behavior is good evidence of cause. Thus they mislead the public into accepting the view that all human psychopathology is, at its roots, a biological pathology - instead of explicitly acknowledging that mind, brain and behavior share irreducible interconnections.[37]

The suggestion here is that much of the general public operates on an assumption of mind and body as two different kinds, which is exploited by brain scientists. If the public reflexively believes that the psychological realm is distinct from the biological realm, then any correlation shown between brain and behavior can be identified as a causation between brain and behavior.

Criticisms of such causal claims have been leveled elsewhere. An editorial in the American Journal of Psychiatry in May 1999 asked whether functional magnetic resonance imaging (or fMRI) is twenty-first century phrenology. The piece notes, "Neuroimaging offers a powerful probe of brain state, but we are now faced with metaphysical questions; i.e., what is a brain state, and how is it related to the outward manifestations of behavior? This has the potential for degenerating into the old mind-body duality of Descartes..."

Similarly, Sandra Blakeslee points out in the New York Times that "just because a brain area is correlated with a behavior in F.M.R.I. studies does not mean that it causes the behavior... Imaging studies often make this mistake" (March 14, 2000).

As noted above, there is a growing body of evidence showing the direct impact of environment and experience on the brain, and this is undermining scientists' ability to exploit dualistic tendencies in popular culture. Nevertheless, the fact that such a tearing-down process has been necessary with the rise of modern neuroscience suggests the degree to which a latent mind-body dualism persists, even in the 21st century.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hart, W.D. (1996) "Dualism", in A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind, ed. Samuel Guttenplan, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 265-7.
  2. ^ a b c Plato (390s-347 BC) Platonis Opera, vol. 1, Euthyphro, Apologia Socratis, Crito, Phaedo, Cratylus, Theaetetus, Sophistes, Politicus, ed. E.A. Duke, W.F. Hicken, W.S.M. Nicoll, D.B. Robinson and J.C.G. Strachan, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995.
  3. ^ a b c Aristotle (c. mid 4th century BC) Metaphysics (Metaphysica), ed. W.D. Ross, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1924, 2 vols; Books IV-VI, trans. C.A. Kirwan, Clarendon Aristotle Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1971; Books VII-VIII trans. D. Bostock, Clarendon Aristotle Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994; Books XIII-XIV trans. J. Annas, Clarendon Aristotle Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1976.
  4. ^ a b c d Descartes, R. (1641) Meditations on First Philosophy, in The Philosophical Writings of René Descartes, trans. by J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984, vol. 2, pp. 1-62.
  5. ^ a b c d e Robinson, Howard, "Dualism", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2003 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2003/entries/dualism/.
  6. ^ a b c Aristotle (c. mid 4th century BC) On the Soul (De anima), ed. R.D. Hicks, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1907; Books II-III trans. D.W. Hamlyn, Clarendon Aristotle Series, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1968.
  7. ^ Whittaker (1901) The Neo-Platonists, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. ^ Aquinas, Thomas (1266-71) Summa Theologica. trans. Fathers of the English Dominican Province, 2d, rev. ed., 22 vols., London: Burns, Oates & Washbourne, 1912-36; reprinted in 5 vols., Westminster, MD: Christian Classics, 1981.
  9. ^ "Apostles' Creed". Catechism of the Catholic Church. http://www.va/archive/catechism/p1s1c3a2.htm#credo. Retrieved June 21 2005.  
  10. ^ Spong, John Selby (1994) Resurrection: Myth or Reality, New York: HarperCollins Publishing. ISBN 0-06-067546-2.
  11. ^ a b Schmaltz, Tad, "Nicolas Malebranche", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2002 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta, http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2002/entries/malebranche/
  12. ^ Chalmers, David, "The Matrix as Metaphysics", http://consc.net/papers/matrix.html, Note 6.
  13. ^ Searle, John (1983) "Why I Am Not a Property Dualist", http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~jsearle/132/PropertydualismFNL.doc.
  14. ^ a b c d Robinson, H. (2003) "Dualism", in The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind, ed. S. Stich and T. Warfield, Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 85-101.
  15. ^ Searle, John (1983) "Why I Am Not a Property Dualist", http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~jsearle/132/PropertydualismFNL.doc.
  16. ^ a b Donald Davidson (1980) Essays on Actions and Events, Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-924627-0.
  17. ^ Fodor, Jerry (1968) Psychological Explanation, Random House. ISBN 0-07-021412-3.
  18. ^ Gallagher, S. 2006. "Where's the action? Epiphenomenalism and the problem of free will". In W. Banks, S. Pockett, and S. Gallagher. Does Consciousness Cause Behavior? An Investigation of the Nature of Intuition (109-124). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  19. ^ Nagel, Thomas (1986) The View From Nowhere, New York: Oxford University Press.
  20. ^ Jackson, Frank (1977) Perception: A Representative Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  21. ^ Lewis, David (1988) "What Experience Teaches", in Papers in Metaphysics and Epistemology, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 262-290.
  22. ^ Chalmers, David (1997). The Conscious Mind. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-511789-1.  
  23. ^ Dennett, Daniel (1995). "The unimagined preposterousness of zombies". J Consciousness Studies 2: 322\u20136.  
  24. ^ Dennett, Daniel (1991). Consciousness Explained. Little, Brown and Co.. p. 95. ISBN 0316180653.  
  25. ^ a b Madell, G. (1981) The Identity of the Self, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
  26. ^ Shoemaker, S. and Swinburne, R. (1984) Personal Identity, Oxford: Blackwell.
  27. ^ a b Victor Reppert C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8308-2732-3
  28. ^ A Response to Richard Carrier's Review of C.S. Lewis's Dangerous Idea
  29. ^ The Cardinal Difficulty Of Naturalism
  30. ^ Lewis, C.S (1947). Miracles.  
  31. ^ Baker, Gordon and Morris, Katherine J. (1996) Descartes' Dualism, London: Routledge.
  32. ^ Lycan, William (1996) "Philosophy of Mind" in The Blackwell Companion to Philosophy, ed. Nicholas Bunnin and E. P. Tsui-James, Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.
  33. ^ Maher, Michael (1909) "The Law of Conservation of Energy", Catholic Encyclopedia, vol. 5, pp. 422 ff, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/05422a.htm.
  34. ^ Popper, Karl R. and Eccles, John C. (1977) The Self and Its Brain, Berlin: Springer.
  35. ^ Churchland, Paul (1988) Matter and Consciousness, Revised Edition, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  36. ^ Glassen, Peter (1976) "J. J. C. Smart, Materialism and Occam's Razor", Philosophy 51, pp. 349-352; J. J. C. Smart (1978) "Is Occam's Razor a Physical Thing?", Philosophy 53, pp. 382-385; Peter Glassen (1983) "Smart, Materialism and Believing", Philosophy 58, pp. 95-101.
  37. ^ DeGrandpre, R.J. (March/April 1999) "Just Cause? Many neuroscientists are all too quick to call a blip on a brain scan the reason for a behavior", The Sciences, pp. 14-18, http://www.nyas.org/publications/sciences/pdf/ts_03_99.pdf.

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Up to date as of January 22, 2010
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From Wikisource

The Dualists
by Bram Stoker


The Dualists

Bis Dat Qui Non Cito Dat

There was joy in the house of Bubb.

For ten long years had Ephraim and Sophonisba Bubb mourned in vain the loneliness of their life. Unavailingly had they gazed into the emporia of baby-linen, and fixed their searching glances on the basket-makers' warehouses where the cradles hung in tempting rows. In vain had they prayed, and sighed, and groaned, and wished, and waited, and wept, but never had even a ray of hope been held out by the family physician.

But now at last the wished-for moment had arrived. Month after month had flown by on leaden wings, and the destined days had slowly measured their course. The months had become weeks; the weeks had dwindled down to days; the days had been attenuated to hours; the hours had lapsed into minutes, the minutes had slowly died away, and but seconds remained.

Ephraim Bubb sat cowering on the stairs, and tried with high-strung ears to catch the strain of blissful music from the lips of his first-born. There was silence in the house--silence as of the deadly calm before the cyclone. Ah! Ephraim Bubb, little thinkest thou that another moment may for ever destroy the peaceful, happy course of thy life, and open to thy too-craving eyes the portals of that wondrous land where childhood reigns supreme, and where the tyrant infant with the wave of his tiny hand and the imperious treble of his tiny voice sentences his parent o the deadly vault beneath the castle moat. As the thought strikes thee thou becomest pale. How thou tremblest as thou findest thyself upon the brink of the abyss! Wouldst that thou could recall the past!

But hark! the die is cast for good or ill. The long years of praying and hoping have found an end at last. From the chamber within comes a sharp cry, which shortly after is repeated. Ah!

Ephraim, that cry is the feeble effort of childish lips as yet unused to the rough, worldly form of speech to frame the word 'father'. In the glow of thy transport all doubts are forgotten; and when the doctor cometh forth as the harbinger of joy he findeth thee radiant with new-found delight.

'My dear sir, allow me to congratulate you--to offer twofold felicitations. Mr Bubb, sir, you are the father of twins!'

Halcyon Days

The twins were the finest children that ever were seen--so at least said the cognoscenti, and the parents were not slow to believe. The nurse's opinion was in itself a proof.

It was not, ma'am, that they was fine for twins, but they was fine for singles, and she had ought to know, for she had nussed a many in her time, both twins and singles. All they wanted was to have their dear little legs cut off and little wings on their dear little shoulders, for to be put one on each side of a white marble tombstone, cut beautiful, sacred to the relic of Ephraim Bubb, that they might, sir, if so be that missus was to survive the father of two such lovely twins--although she would make bold to say, and no offence intended, that a handsome gentleman, though a trifle or two older than his good lady, though for the matter of that she heerd that gentlemen was never too old at all, and for her own part she liked them the better for it: not like bits of boys that didn't know their own minds--that a gentleman what was the father of two such 'eavenly twins (God bless them!) couldn't be called anything but a boy; though for the matter of that she never knowed in her experience--which it was much--of a boy as had such twins, or any twins at all so much for the matter of that. The twins were the idols of their parents, and at the same time their pleasure and their pain. Did Zerubbabel cough, Ephraim would start from his balmy slumbers with an agonized cry of consternation, for visions of innumerable twins black in the face from croup haunted his nightly pillow. Did Zacariah rail at ethereal expansion, Sophonisba with pallid hue and dishevelled locks would fly to the cradle of her offspring. Did pins torture or strings afflict, or flannel or flies tickle, or light dazzle, or darkness affright, or hunger or thirst assail the synchronous productions, the household of Bubb would be roused from quiet slumbers or the current of its manifold workings changed.

The twin's grew apace; were weaned; teethed; and at length arrived at the stage of three years!

They grew in beauty side by side, They filled one home, etc.

Rumours of War

Harry Merford and Tommy Santon lived in the same range of villas as Ephraim Bubb. Harry's parents had taken up their abode in no. 25, no. 27 was happy in the perpetual sunshine of Tommy's smiles, and between these two residences Ephraim Bubb reared his blossoms, the number of his mansion being 26. Harry and Tommy had been accustomed from the earliest times to meet each other daily. Their primal method of communication had been by the housetops, till their respective sires had been obliged to pay compensation to Bubb for damages to his roof and dormer windows; and from that time they had been forbidden by the home authorities to meet, whilst their mutual neighbour had taken the precaution of having his garden walls pebble-dashed and topped with broken glass to prevent their incursions. Harry and Tommy, however, being gifted with daring souls, lofty, ambitious, impetuous natures, and strong seats to their trousers, defied the rugged walls of Bubb and continued to meet in secret.

Compared with these two youths, Castor and Pollux, Damon and Pythias, Eloisa and Abelard are but tame examples of duality or constancy and friendship. All the poets from Hyginus to Schiller might sing of noble deeds and desperate dangers held as naught for friendship's sake, but they would have been mute had they but known of the mutual affection of Harry and Tommy. Day by day, and often night by night, would these two brave the perils of nurse, and father, and mother, of whip and imprisonment, and hunger and thirst, and solitude and darkness to meet together. What they discussed in secret none other knew. What deeds of darkness were perpetrated in their symposia none could tell. Alone they met, alone they remained, and alone they departed to their several abodes. There was in the garden of Bubb a summer-house overgrown with trailing plants, and surrounded by young poplars which the fond father had planted on his children's natal day, and whose rapid growth he had proudly watched. These trees quite obscured the summer-house, and here Harry and Tommy, knowing after a careful observation that none ever entered the place, held their conclaves. Time after time they met in full security and followed their customary pursuit of pleasure. Let us raise the mysterious veil and see what was the great Unknown at whose shrine they bent the knee..Harry and Tommy had each been given as a Christmas box a new knife; and for a long time---nearly a year--these knives, similar in size and pattern, were their chief delights. With them they cut and hacked in their respective homes all things which would not be likely to be noticed; for the young gentlemen were wary and had no wish that their moments of pleasure should be atoned for by moments of pain. The insides of drawers, and desks, and boxes, the underparts of tables and chairs, the backs of pictures frames, even the floors, where corners of the carpets could surreptitiously be turned up, all bore marks of their craftsmanship; and to compare notes on these artistic triumphs was a source of joy. At length, however, a critical time came, some new field of action should be opened up, for the old appetites were sated, and the old joys had begun to pall. It was absolutely necessary that the existing schemes of destruction should be enlarged; and yet this could hardly be done without a terrible risk of discovery, for the limits of safety had long since been reached and passed. But, be the risk great or small, some new ground should be broken--some new joy found, for the old earth was barren, and the craving for pleasure was growing fiercer with each successive day.

The crisis had come: who could tell the issue?

The Tucket Sounds

They met in the arbour, determined to discuss this grave question. The heart of each was big with revolution, the head of each was full of scheme and strategy, and the pocket of each was full of sweet-stuff, the sweeter for being stolen. After having dispatched the sweets, the conspirators proceeded to explain their respective views with regard to the enlargement of their artistic operations. Tommy unfolded with much pride a scheme which he had in contemplation of cutting a series of holes in the sounding board of the piano, so as to destroy its musical properties. Harry was in no wise behindhand in his ideas of reform. He had conceived the project of cutting the canvas at the back of his great-grandfather's portrait, which his father held in high regard among his lares and penates, so that in time when the picture should be moved the skin of paint would be broken, the head fall bodily out from the frame.

At this point of the council a brilliant thought occurred to Tommy. 'Why should not the enjoyment be doubled, and the musical instruments and family pictures of both establishments be sacrificed on the altar of pleasure?' This was agreed to nem. con.; and then the meeting adjourned for dinner. When they next met it was evident that there was a screw loose somewhere--that there was 'something rotten in the state of Denmark'. After a little fencing on both sides, it came out that all the schemes of domestic reform had been foiled by maternal vigilance, and that so sharp had been the reprimand consequent on a partial discovery of the schemes that they would have to be abandoned--till such time, at least, as increased physical strength would allow the reformers to laugh to scorn parental threats and injunctions.

Sadly the two forlorn youths took out their knives and regarded them; sadly, sadly they thought, as erst did Othello, of all the fair chances of honour and triumph and glory gone for ever. They compared knives with almost the fondness of doting parents. There they were--so equal in size and strength and beauty--dimmed by no corrosive rust, tarnished by no stain, and with unbroken edges of the keenness of Saladin's sword.

So like were the knives that but for the initials scratched in the handles neither boy could have been sure which was his own. After a little while they began mutually to brag of the superior excellence of their respective weapons. Tommy insisted that his was the sharper, Harry asserted that his was the stronger of the two. Hotter and hotter grew the war of words. The tempers of Harry and Tommy got inflamed, and their boyish bosoms glowed with manly thoughts of daring and hate. But there was abroad in that hour a spirit of a bygone age--one that penetrated even to that dim arbour in the grove of Bubb. The world-old scheme of ordeal was whispered by the spirit in the ear of each, and suddenly the tumult was allayed. With one impulse the boys suggested that they should test the quality of their knives by the ordeal of the Hack.

No sooner said than done. Harry held out his knife edge uppermost; and Tommy, grasping his firmly by the handle, brought down the edge of the blade crosswise on Harry's. The process was then reversed, and Harry became in turn the aggressor. Then they paused and eagerly looked for the result. It was not hard to see; in each knife were two great dents of equal depth; and so it was necessary to renew the contest, and seek a further proof.

What needs it to relate seriatim the details of that direful strife? The sun had long since gone down, and the moon with fair, smiling face had long risen over the roof of Bubb, when, wearied and jaded, Harry and Tommy sought their respective homes. Alas! the splendour of the knives was gone for ever. Ichabod!--Ichabod! the glory had departed and naught remained but two useless wrecks, with keen edges destroyed, and now like unto nothing save the serried hills of Spain.

But though they mourned for their fondly cherished weapons, the hearts of the boys were glad; for the bygone day had opened to their gaze a prospect of pleasure as boundless as the limits of the world.

The First Crusade

From that day a new era dawned in the lives of Harry and Tommy. So long as the resources of the parental establishments could hold out so long would their new amusement continue. Subtly they obtained surreptitious possession of articles of family cutlery not in general use, and brought them one by one to their rendezvous. These came fair and spotless from the sanctity of the butler's pantry. Alas! they returned not as they came.

But in course of time the stock of available cutlery became exhausted, and again the inventive faculties of the youths were called into requisition. They reasoned thus: 'The knife game, it is true, is played out, but the excitement of the hack is not to be dispensed with. Let us carry, then, this great idea into new worlds; let us still live in the sunshine of pleasure; let us continue to hack, but with objects other than knives.'

It was done. Not knives now engaged the attention of the ambitious youths. Spoons and forks were daily flattened and beaten out of shape; pepper castor met pepper castor in combat, and both were borne dying from the field; candlesticks met in fray to part no more on this side of the grave; even epergnes were used as weapons in the crusade of hack.

At last all the resources of the butler's pantry became exhausted, and then began a system of miscellaneous destruction that proved in a little time ruinous to the furniture of the respective homes of Harry and Tommy. Mrs Santon and Mrs Merford began to notice that the wear and tear in their households became excessive. Day after day some new domestic calamity seemed to have occurred. Today a valuable edition of some book whose luxurious binding made it an object for public display would appear to have suffered some dire misfortune, for the edges were frayed and broken and the back loose if not altogether displaced; tomorrow the same awful fate would seem to have followed some miniature frame; the day following the legs of some chair or spider-table would show signs of extraordinary hardship. Even in the nursery the sounds of lamentation were heard..It was a thing of daily occurrence for the little girls to state that when going to bed at night they had laid their dear dollies in their beds with tender care, but that when again seeking them in the period of recess they had found them with all their beauty gone, with legs and arms amputated and faces beaten from all semblance of human form.

Then articles of crockery began to be missed. The thief could in no case be discovered, and the wages of the servants, from constant stoppages, began to be nominal rather than real. Mrs Merford and Mrs Santon mourned their losses, but Harry and Tommy gloated day after day over their spoils, which lay in an ever-increasing heap in the hidden grove of Bubb. To such an extent had the fondness of the hack now grown that with both youths it was an infatuation--a madness--a frenzy.

At length one awful day arrived. The butlers of the houses of Merford and Santon, harassed by constant losses and complaints, and finding that their breakage account was in excess of their wages, determined to seek some sphere of occupation where, if they did not meet with a suitable reward or recognition of their services, they would, at least, not lose whatever fortune and reputation they had already acquired. Accordingly, before rendering up their keys and the goods entrusted to their charge, they proceeded to take a preliminary stock of their own accounts, to make sure of their accredited accuracy. Dire indeed was their distress when they knew to the full the havoc which had been wrought; terrible their anguish of the present, bitter their thoughts of the future. Their hearts, bowed down with weight of woe, failed them quite; reeled the strong brains that had erst overcome foes of deadlier spirit than grief; and fell their stalwart forms prone on the floors of their respective sancta sanctorum.

Late in the day when their services were required they were sought for in bower and hail, and at length discovered where they lay.

But alas for justice! They were accused of being drunk and for having, whilst in that degraded condition, deliberately injured all the property on which they could lay hands. Were not the evidences of their guilt patent to all in the hecatombs of the destroyed? Then they were charged with all the evils wrought in the houses, and on their indignant denial Harry and Tommy, each in his own home, according to their concerted scheme of action, stepped forward and relieved their minds of the deadly weight that had for long in secret borne them down. The story of each ran that time after time he had seen the butler, when he thought that nobody was looking, knocking knives together in the pantry, chairs and books and pictures in the drawing-room and study, dolls in the nursery, and plates in the kitchen. Then, indeed, was the master of each household stern and uncompromising in his demands for justice. Each butler was committed to the charge of myrmidons of the law under the double charge of drunkenness and wilful destruction of property.

Softly and sweetly slept Harry and Tommy in their little beds that night. Angels seemed to whisper to them, for they smiled as though lost in pleasant dreams. The rewards given by proud and grateful parents lay in their pockets, and in their hearts the happy consciousness of having done their duty.

Truly sweet should be the slumbers of the just...

'Let the Dead Past Bury It's Dead'

It might be supposed that now the operations of Harry and Tommy would be obliged to be abandoned. Not so, however. The minds of these youths were of no common order, nor were their souls of such weak nature as to yield at the first summons of necessity. Like Nelson, they knew not fear; like Napoleon, they held 'impossible' to be the adjective of fools; and they revelled in the glorious truth that in the lexicon of youth is no such word as 'fail'. Therefore on the day following the éclaircissement of the butlers' misdeeds, they met in the arbour to plan a new campaign. In the hour when all seemed blackest to them, and when the narrowing walls of possibility hedged them in on every side, thus ran the deliberations of these dauntless youths:

'We have played out the meaner things that are inanimate and inert; why not then trench on the domains of life? The dead have lapsed into the regions of the forgotten past--let the living look to themselves.'

That night they met when all households had retired to balmy sleep, and naught but the amorous wailings of nocturnal cats told of the existence of life and sentience. Each bore into the arbour in his arms a pet rabbit and a piece of sticking-plaster. Then, in the peaceful, quiet moonlight, commenced a work of mystery, blood, and gloom. The proceedings began by the fixing of a piece of sticking-plaster over the mouth of each rabbit to prevent it making a noise, if so inclined. Then Tommy held up his rabbit by its scutty tail, and it hung wriggling, a white mass in the moonlight. Slowly Harry raised his rabbit holding it in the same manner, and when level with his head brought it down on Tommy's client.

But the chances had been miscalculated. The boys held firmly to the tails, but the chief portions of the rabbits fell to earth. Ere the doomed beasts could escape, however, the operators had pounced upon them, and this time holding them by the hind legs renewed the trial.

Deep into the night the game was kept up, and the eastern sky began to show signs of approaching day as each boy bore triumphantly the dead corse of his favourite bunny and placed it within its sometime hutch.

Next night the same game was renewed with a new rabbit on each side, and for more than a week--so long as the hutches supplied the wherewithal--the battle was sustained. True that there were sad hearts and red eyes in the juveniles of Santon and Merford as one by one the beloved pets were found dead, but Harry and Tommy, with the hearts of heroes steeled to suffering and deaf to the pitiful cries of childhood, still fought the good fight on to the bitter end.

When the supply of rabbits was exhausted, other munition was not wanting, and for some days the war was continued with white mice, dormice, hedgehogs, guinea pigs, pigeons, lambs, canaries, parakeets, linnets, squirrels, parrots, marmots, poodles, ravens, tortoises, terriers, and cats. Of these, as might be expected, the most difficult to manipulate were the terriers and the cats, and of these two classes the proportion of the difficulties in the way of terrier-hacking was, when compared with those of cat-hacking, about that which the simple lac of the British pharmacopoeia bears to water in the compound which dairymen palm off upon a too-confiding public as milk. More than once when engaged in the rapturous delights of cat-hacking had Harry and Tommy wished that the silent tomb could open its ponderous and massy jaws and engulf them, for the feline victims were not patient in their death agonies, and often broke the bonds in which the security of the artists rested, and turned fiercely on their executioners.

At last, however, all the animals available were sacrificed; but the passion for hacking still remained. How was it all to end?

A Cloud with Golden Lining

Tommy and Harry sat in the arbour dejected and disconsolate. They wept like two Alexanders because there were no more worlds to conquer. At last the conviction had been forced upon them that the resources available for hacking were exhausted. That very morning they had had a desperate battle, and their attire showed the ravages of direful war. Their hats were battered into shapeless masses, their shoes were soleless and heel-less and had the uppers broken, the ends of their braces, their sleeves, and their trousers were frayed, and had they indulged in the manly luxury of coat-tails these too would have gone.

Truly, hacking had become an absorbing passion with them. Long and fiercely had they been swept onwards on the wings of the demon of strife, and powerless at the best of times had been the promptings of good; but now, heated with combat, maddened by the equal success of arms, and with the lust for victory still unsated, they longed more fiercely than ever for some new pleasure: like tigers that have tasted blood they thirsted for a larger and more potent libation.

As they sat, with their souls in a tumult of desire and despair, some evil genius guided into the garden the twin blossoms of the tree of Bubb. Hand in hand Zacariah and Zerubbabel advanced from the back door; they had escaped from their nurses, and with the exploring instinct of humanity, advanced boldly into the great world--the terra incognita, the ultima Thule of the paternal domain.

In the course of time they approached the hedge of poplars, from behind which the anxious eyes of Harry and Tommy looked for their approach, for the boys knew that where the twins were the nurses were accustomed to be gathered together, and they feared discovery if their retreat should be cut off.

It was a touching sight, these lovely babes, alike in form, feature, size, expression, and dress; in fact, so like each other that one 'might not have told either from which'. When the startling similarity was recognized by Harry and Tommy, each suddenly turned, and, grasping the other by the shoulder, spoke in a keen whisper: 'Hack! They are exactly equal! This is the very apotheosis of our art!'

With excited faces and trembling hands they laid their plans to lure the unsuspecting babes within the precincts of their charnel house, and they were so successful in their efforts that in a little time the twins had toddled behind the hedge and were lost to the sight of the parental mansion.

Harry and Tommy were not famed for gentleness within the immediate precincts of their respective homes, but it would have delighted the heart of any philanthropist to see the kindly manner in which they arranged for the pleasures of the helpless babes. With smiling faces and playful words and gentle wiles they led them within the arbour, and then, under pretence of giving them some of those sudden jumps in which infants rejoice, they raised them from the ground. Tommy held Zacariah across his arm with his baby moon-face smiling up at the cobwebs on the arbour roof, and Harry, with a mighty effort, raised the cherubic Zerubbabel aloft.

Each nerved himself for a great endeavour, Harry to give, Tommy to endure a shock, and then the form of Zerubbabel was seen whirling through the air round Harry's glowing and determined face. There was a sickening crash and the arm of Tommy yielded visibly.

The pasty face of Zerubbabel had fallen fair on that of Zacariah, for Tommy and Harry were by this time artists of too great experience to miss so simple a mark. The putty-like noses collapsed, the putty-like cheeks became for a moment flattened, and when in an instant more they parted, the faces of both were dabbled in gore. Immediately the firmament was rent with a series of such yells as might have awakened the dead. Forthwith from the house of Bubb came the echoes in parental cries and footsteps. As the sounds of scurrying feet rang through the mansion, Harry cried to Tommy: 'They will be on us soon. Let us cut to the roof of the stable and draw up the ladder.'

Tommy answered by a nod, and the two boys, regardless of consequences, and bearing each a twin, ascended to the roof of the stable by means of a ladder which usually stood against the wall, and which they pulled up after them.

As Ephraim Bubb issued from his house in pursuit of his lost darlings, the sight which met his gaze froze his very soul. There, on the coping of the stable roof, stood Harry and Tommy renewing their game. They seemed like two young demons forging some diabolical implement, for each in turn the twins were lifted high in air and let fall with stunning force on the supine form of its fellow. How Ephraim felt none but a tender and imaginative father can conceive. It would be enough to wring the heart of even a callous parent to see his children, the darlings of his old age--his own beloved twins--being sacrificed to the brutal pleasure of unregenerate youths, without being made unconsciously and helplessly guilty of the crime of fratricide.

Loudly did Ephraim and also Sophonisba, who, with dishevelled locks, had now appeared upon the scene, bewail their unhappy lot and shriek in vain for aid; but by rare ill-chance no eyes save their own saw the work of butchery or heard the shrieks of anguish and despair. Wildly did Ephraim, mounting on the shoulders of his spouse, strive, but in vain, to scale the stable wall.

Baffled in every effort, he rushed into the house and appeared in a moment bearing in his hands a double-barrelled gun, into which he poured the contents of a shot pouch as he ran. He came anigh the stable and hailed the murderous youths: 'Drop them twins and come down here or I'll shoot you like a brace of dogs.'

'Never!' exclaimed the heroic two with one impulse, and continued their awful pastime with a zest tenfold as they knew that the agonized eyes of parents wept at the cause of their joy.

'Then die!' shrieked Ephraim, as he fired both barrels, right--left, at the hackers.

But, alas! love for his darlings shook the hand that never shook before. As the smoke cleared off and Ephraim recovered from the kick of his gun, he heard a loud twofold laugh of triumph and saw Harry and Tommy, all unhurt, waving in the air the trunks of the twins-the fond father had blown the heads completely off his own offspring.

Tommy and Harry shrieked aloud in glee, and after playing catch with the bodies for some time, seen only by the agonized eyes of the infanticide and his wife, flung them high in the air.

Ephraim leaped forward to catch what had once been Zacariah, and Sophonisba grabbed wildly for the loved remains of her Zerubbabel.

But the weight of the bodies and the height from which they fell were not reckoned by either parent, and from being ignorant of a simple dynamical formula each tried to effect an object which calm, common sense, united with scientific knowledge, would have told them was impossible. The masses fell, and Ephraim and Sophonisba were stricken dead by the falling twins, who were thus posthumously guilty of the crime of parricide.

An intelligent coroner's jury found the parents guilty of the crimes of infanticide and suicide, on the evidence of Harry and Tommy, who swore, reluctantly, that the inhuman monsters, maddened by drink, had killed their offspring by shooting them into the air out of a cannon---since stolen--whence like curses they had fallen on their own heads; and that then they had slain themselves suis manibus with their own hands..Accordingly Ephraim and Sophonisba were denied the solace of Christian burial, and were committed to the earth with 'maimed rites', and had stakes driven through their middles to pin them down in their unhallowed graves till the crack of doom.

Harry and Tommy were each rewarded with national honours and were knighted, even at their tender years.

Fortune seemed to smile upon them all the long after-years, and they lived to a ripe old age, hale of body, and respected and beloved of all.

Often in the golden summer eves, when all nature seemed at rest, when the oldest cask was opened and the largest lamp was lit, when the chestnuts glowed in the embers and the kid turned on the spit, when their great-grandchildren pretended to mend fictional armour and to trim an imaginary helmet's plume, when the shuttles of the good wives of their grandchildren went flashing each through its proper loom, with shouting and with laughter they were accustomed to tell the tale of THE DUALITISTS; OR, THE DEATH DOOM OF THE DOUBLE BORN.



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