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René Descartes' illustration of mind/body dualism. Inputs are passed on by the sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the immaterial spirit.
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The mind-body dichotomy is the view that "mental" phenomena are, in some respects, "non-physical" (distinct from the body). In a religious sense, it refers to the separation of body and soul (Paul, Letter to the Romans 7:25; 8:10). The mind-body dichotomy is the starting point of Dualism, and became conceptualized in the form known to the modern Western world in René Descartes' philosophy, though it also surfaced in pre-Aristotelian concepts[1] and in Avicennian philosophy.[2]

This view of reality may lead one to consider the corporeal as little valued[1] and trivial. The rejection of the mind-body dichotomy is found in French Structuralism, and is a position that generally characterized post-war French philosophy.[3] The absence of an empirically identifiable meeting point between the non-physical mind and its physical extension has proven problematic to dualism and many modern philosophers of mind maintain that the mind is not something separate from the body.[4] These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, particularly in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various neurosciences.[5][6][7][8]

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Plato

Plato argued that, as the body is from the material world, the soul is from the world of ideas and is thus immortal. He believed the soul was temporarily united with the body and would only be separated at death, when it would return to the world of Forms. Since the soul does not exist in time and space, as the body does, it can access universal truths. For Plato, ideas (or Forms) are the true reality, and are experienced by the soul. The body is for Plato empty in that it can not access the abstract reality of the world; it can only experience shadows. This is determined by Plato's essentially rationalistic epistemology.

Notes and citations

  1. ^ a b The mind-body problem by Robert M. Young
  2. ^ edited by Henrik Lagerlund. (2007-09-30), Forming the Mind: Essays on the Internal Senses and the Mind/Body Problem from Avicenna to the Medical Enlightenment, Springer Science+Business Media, ISBN 9781402060830  
  3. ^ Turner 96, p.76
  4. ^ Kim, J. (1995). Honderich, Ted. ed. Problems in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.  
  5. ^ Pinel, J. Psychobiology, (1990) Prentice Hall, Inc. ISBN 8815071741
  6. ^ LeDoux, J. (2002) The Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are, New York:Viking Penguin. ISBN 8870787958
  7. ^ Russell, S. and Norvig, P. Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach, New Jersey:Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131038052
  8. ^ Dawkins, R. The Selfish Gene (1976) Oxford:Oxford University Press. ISBN

Kim, J., "Mind-Body Problem", Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Ted Honderich (ed.). Oxford:Oxford University Press. 1995.

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