PH 1010 Indian River Community College Mind Body Dualism Essay

Essay 2
Follow the instructions given below carefully.
Write an essay that focuses on one of the arguments found in any of the readings assigned for
modules 4 – 7.
1. Submit your essay as an attachment. Use a word document file extension of some sort (rtf, doc, docx,
odt, etc.) do not submit a pdf file.
2. Do not quote or cite (or plagiarize) the PowerPoints from the course—they should only be used to help
you understand the material. All citations and quotations should come directly from the readings.
3. The essay should be 3 to 4 pages.
4. Do not use outside sources—only use the readings that were assigned for the course—do not go out
on the internet and look up sources.
Your essay must follow this format:
Begin with an introductory paragraph that a) presents your thesis; b) identifies which text and
author you will discuss, and c) prepares the reader for the organization of your paper. Your
THESIS is a clear and exact statement of the claim you will support in your essay.
Thesis Statement: You must tell the reader specifically what position you will
Example of a thesis statement:
“Carl Cohen’s claim that reason is required to justify the extension of moral
consideration is flawed. One’s capacity to suffer, should be the only requirement
necessary to justify the extension of moral consideration.”
The body of the paper should consist in a focused discussion of the author’s argument from your
chosen reading. Your paper should provide a clear exposition of one of the arguments offered by
the specific author from the text you focus on. Following the exposition, give one or two
objections to the author’s claims. Discuss your objection(s) carefully. Provide the strongest
possible counter-argument or counterexample. Be sure that your objection(s) are specifically
linked to the arguments given by the author whose work you have exposited. Next, offer possible
responses to your objections. In other words, present possible responses/arguments against your
original objections. Then offer replies to these responses in an effort to show that the original
objection (your argument) still stands. In other words, offer reason to believe that one should not
accept the responses to your original objection(s).
The conclusion should not simply repeat what you have already said in the body of the paper. The
concluding remarks may reiterate briefly the structure of your foregoing argument and the
conclusion(s) you have reached. But, crucially, concluding remarks should say something more
than this. Are there still further, related questions that you have not addressed? Does your
discussion have an important implication for the topic, for philosophical theory, for life in
general? In other words, try to show how your work in this particular essay reaches out to other
topics of interest or paves the way for further argument or analysis. Remember that philosophy
papers rarely solve problems once and for all time, so resist the temptation to overstate or
exaggerate your conclusions. It is reasonable, even admirable, to acknowledge the limitations of
your discussion in your concluding remarks.
Quote and cite the text to support your discussion (Footnotes or parenthetical citations are
preferred). All verbatim quotation must use quotation marks. Citations are also required for
paraphrases of the text. The goal is to point the reader to the appropriate passages of text where the
claims are made. Use quotations selectively; most of the paper should be written in your own
words. Use a works cited page.
In a nutshell:
Tell the reader what text you will discuss, identify the specific author you will address, offer a
thesis statement (the position you will defend), and give a brief overview of how the essay
will proceed.
Explicate the specific author’s argument from the text you have chosen—explain the
argument in detail, walk the reader through the argument step by step.
Offer objections to the argument—point out problems with the author’s argument, and offer
your own argument in an effort to justify your claim that the author’s argument contains these
problems. Do not ignore the author’s counter arguments—for example, if the author addresses
a particular objection in their piece, and offers (a response) a reason to think these objections
are not problematic for their position, then be sure that you do not simply offer that very same
objection without addressing why their response does not work.
Examine possible responses to your objections—discuss possible weaknesses/problems with
the argument you present in section three. What sorts of issues might one raise against your
argument? Note the weaknesses and/or limitations with your original argument.
Offer replies to these responses—produce another argument that offers an effective rebuttal to
these responses, and shows that these weaknesses do not destroy your original argument (the
goal is to produce a dialogue).
6. Conclusion (see above)
* Be sure to read “How to Write a Philosophy Paper” in Blackboard.

You need not do additional research. Focus on the essays we have read, or any of the
others in Blackboard (provided they were assigned and we have discussed them).
Your work must be your own, original writing. There are severe penalties for plagiarism
and cheating. See the syllabus for details.
Your paper should be double-spaced in 10 or 12-point font. Use 1-1.25 inch left and right
margins. Do not use a cover page.
Spell-check your paper. Proofread and edit your work to check for mistakes that
computer programs cannot catch.
At the top of the first page provide the following information single spaced:
Student Name
PHI 1010: Introduction to Philosophy

Give your paper a title. DO NOT USE A COVER PAGE!

Quote and cite the text to support your discussion. (footnotes or parenthetical
citations) All verbatim quotation must use quotation marks. Citations are also
required for paraphrases of the text. The goal is to point the reader to the
appropriate passages of text where the claims are made. Use quotations selectively;
most of the paper should be written in your own words. Use a works cited page.

The exposition should provide a clear, accurate, precise, and selective account of the
author’s position.
CLEAR: Write in complete, grammatical sentences. Organize your thoughts.
ACCURATE: Give a fair and reasonable representation of the author’s position.
PRECISE: Avoid offering vague claims and mere generalities. Make your discussion
detailed, specific, and focused on the exact claims the author gives in support of the
particular arguments you will examine.
SELECTIVE: In a short paper you cannot cover all of the arguments or claims the
author gives. Select only those ideas, reasons, arguments that are directly relevant to your

As a guideline, your first, introductory paragraph should not be more than ½ a page.
The exposition should take 1-2 pages and the presentation of your objection(s) and
response(s) should take 1-2 pages.
NOTE: This paper assignment focuses on exposition AND on critical thinking. The first
goal is to demonstrate that you have a solid understanding of the text, that you can explain
specific arguments from the text, and that you can appropriately cite and quote the text in
support of your discussion. The second goal is to critically evaluate the text. In formulating
your objection(s) to the text, you are attempting to provide reasons why we might reject the
author’s argument or claims. These reasons should identify specific problems with the
author’s claims, not merely a general difference of opinion or view. The reasons you offer in
formulating your objection should be reasonable, clear, intelligent, and as convincing as
Your essays will be run through a plagiarism checker. If you plagiarize an essay you
will receive a 0% for the essay, and may be failed for the course. There are no
second chances. If you are unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, then please
contact your professor prior to submitting your assignment.
A portion of this document was excerpted from Dr. Brook Sadler’s “Guidelines for Writing a Philosophy
Very Good
The Introductory
paragraph identifies
the author and text,
presents a clear and
focused summary of
the position to be
developed in the
paper, and presents
a thesis (What you
will defend/argue).
The Introductory
paragraph presents a
thesis; however, the
thesis seems somewhat
muddled and unclear,
or the writing is
The Introductory
paragraph merely
implies a thesis. It is
difficult to tell what
the thesis of the paper
is and/or its relation
to the author’s
position. Or, does not
identify an author and
The thesis
presented is so
unclear that it is
difficult or
impossible to
unrelated to the
The writer fails to
state a thesis in the
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
The writer
demonstrates an
understanding of the
arguments/ position
of the author
through a clear and
concise explication of
the ideas to be
The writer
understands the
of the author;
however, either the
explication of this
wanders from the text
at times, or the
understanding is not
The writer presents
a limited
understanding of
the arguments/
position of the
The writer
misunderstands the
arguments/ position
of the author.
The writer fails to
position of the
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
The writer presents a
specific critical
analysis of the
author’s position, and
explicitly declares
his/her stance with
respect to the
author’s ideas (thesis).
The writer’s critical
analysis of the
author’s position
lacks precision or
strength, and/or does
not explicitly declare
his/her stance with
respect to the
author’s ideas.
The writer’s critical
analysis of the
author’s position is
unconvincing, and
The writer fails to
critically analyze
the author’s
position in any
The writer fails to
critically analyze the
author’s position.
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
The writer raises a
strong response to
his/her own
objection, and
elaborates upon these
The writer raises solid
responses to his/her
objections, but fails to
elaborate on these
The writer makes use
of weak responses to
his/her objections,
and fails to elaborate
on these objections.
The writer fails to
consider relevant
responses to his or
her objections.
The writer fails to
consider a possible
response to his or
her objections.
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
The writer replies to
the objections raised
in the response
section of the essay,
and offers an
effective rebuttal to
these objections in an
attempt to support
the original thesis.
The writer does
present a reply to the
responses; however, it
is difficult to tell if the
reply offers an
effective rebuttal or
improves the strength
of the original thesis.
The writer presents a
weak reply to the
responses. The reply
does not offer an
effective rebuttal, and
does not improve the
strength of the original
The writer fails to
consider relevant
replies to the
The writer fails to
consider possible
replies to the
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
The writer makes
use of relevant
textual citations and
smoothly fuses
these citations into
the paper without
breaking the flow
of the argument.
The writer makes use
of references;
however, the cited
material is forced and
seems to chop into the
flow of the paper, or is
not explained in detail.
The writer uses far too
many or too few
references such that it
is difficult to tell if the
writer understands the
text, or the writer fails
to employ appropriate
references to the text,
or the quotations are
not explained.
The text is sparsely
referenced, and/or
improper citations
methods are used.
The text is never
referenced, and/or
improper citations
methods are used.
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
Few, if any,
grammatical errors.
Sentences read
smoothly without
being overly wordy.
Appropriate word
Minor grammatical
errors. Sentences are
somewhat wordy and
wandering. Word
choice is sometimes
grammatical errors.
Sentences, word
choice, and word
economy make it
difficult to follow the
writer’s arguments.
There are misspelled
Far too many
grammatical errors
present. Incomplete
Sentences, poor
word choice, and/or
bad word economy
make it nearly
impossible to follow
the writer’s
arguments. There
are misspelled
There are major
grammatical errors
present. Incomplete
Sentences, poor
word choice, and
bad word economy
make it impossible
to follow the
writer’s arguments.
There are
misspelled words.
(90% – 100%)
(80% – 89%)
(70% – 79%)
(60% – 69%)
(0 – 59%)
TOTAL: 100%
Other ways to earn an F:
____Illegible: The grammar, syntax, and style are so poor that it is nearly impossible to comprehend. Thus, making it impossible to determine if
other criteria are met.
____Plagiarism: The text includes plagiarized material – the student must meet with the instructor/professor to explain.
____Formatting: The paper was formatted in a manner as to subvert the minimum length requirement.
____Late Paper: The paper has exceeded the allowable number of days late.
Essay Example
Issues in Dualism
In the Sixth Meditation of his text, “Meditations on First Philosophy,” René Descartes brings forth
the proposition of ‘mind-body dualism’ (also known as ‘Cartesian dualism’). This idea rests on the belief that
humans are composed of two basic kinds of substances: mind and matter. The mind, being a non-spatial
entity, represents the ‘self’ whereas matter defines the physical and solid body (Descartes 43-45). This
conception of dualism attempts to answer a multitude of questions but requires a seemingly impossible
process in which to answer these inquiries. Mind-body dualism faces a logical problem when stating the
relationship between the physical body and the non-physical mind. I will begin this essay by thoroughly
illustrating Descartes’ view of dualism and follow the argument with a set of objections that disagree with the
claim. Then, I will discuss how the mind-brain identity thesis improves upon Descartes’ idea of duality.
Finally, I will respond to possible arguments that may challenge my thesis, including the criticisms that
emotions or reasoning cannot be explained by the mind-brain identity thesis.
Throughout the Sixth Meditation, Descartes details his definition of “The Real Distinction Between
the Mind and Body of Man,” describing a notion of ‘duality.’ According to Descartes, duality characterizes
the mind as an abstract entity that is separate from the tangible body. As part of his claim, Descartes believes
the mind to be the source of reasoning that is influenced by free will. The mind and soul are considered to be
one and the same, and together, they are the core of each human being (Descartes 49-50). The body, on the
other hand, is a ‘vessel’ that responds to environmental stimuli. The body acts as an extension of the self, and
unlike the mind, is affected by external causal laws (Descartes 45). Causal laws, or cause and effect, are laws
the show a relationship between two distinct events. For example, ingesting a large amount of spoiled food
(the cause) could cause a person to experience severe stomach pain (the effect). Descartes, who was known to
be a theological philosopher, mentions that the causal laws found in nature originate from a divine being
(Descartes 47).
Further on in his writing, Descartes presents the “No Necessary Connection Argument” which states
that the two substances, mind and matter, are able to work independently of one another. According to
Descartes, it is possible to imagine the mind existing without a direct connection to the body (Descartes 45).
This connects back to a famous quote said by Descartes: “I think, therefore I am.” Descartes claims that if
something can be conceived by the mind, then it is likely it exists. In a section of his writing, Descartes
distinguishes the power of imagination from the “essence” of the mind. He defines imagination as a mode of
thinking that creates things of a corporeal nature. Descartes asserts that if one were to lose this power of
imagination, their nature (in this case, their mind) would remain the same. Descartes argues that the mind is a
source of pure intellect. Therefore, the act of imagination “turns towards the body” and comes from our
physical interactions with the world (Descartes 42-43). Descartes also notes that the mind and body are
unified within humans, where the mind uses the body to act upon certain wants and needs. The body takes in
the environment surrounding it, as perceived through the senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. When
these qualities are presented to the mind, they evoke reason, emotion, and thought. This co-existence is
known as interactionism (Descartes 46-47).
Peter Carruthers argues against and challenges Descartes’ claim in greater depth. To understand
Carruthers’ point, it is necessary to explain Leibniz Law. Leibniz Law, also known as the Identity of
Indiscernibles Principle, states that “identical things share identical properties” (Carruthers 320). Stanford
University presents this principle as a formula: “for every property F, object x has F if and only if object y has
F, then x is identical to y” (Stanford). In his text, “The Mind is the Brain,” Carruthers mentions three
premises on which Descartes bases his argument for duality. The first is “that one may be absolutely certain
of their experiences when they have them.” The second premise states that “one cannot have this same level
of certainty regarding the existence of any physical states (including the brain-state).” The final statement
jumps to the conclusion that (following Leibniz’s Law) “conscious experiences are different from brainstates” (Carruthers 320). In order to combat Descartes idea of duality, Peter Carruthers presents the minebrain identity thesis. This thesis holds the notion that all mental states are in fact physical states that respond
to causal laws. Carruthers explains that the mind-brain identity thesis views conscious states and brain-states
as being the very same thing (Carruthers 319). While it is possible for some mental states to be causally
necessary for certain physical states to occur, it is more likely that physical events will provide causal
explanation for corporal functions. Carruthers states that it is unlikely for physical causation to “run out”, that
is, it is unlikely that physical events will cease to be the cause for future events (Carruthers 319). This can be
well explained through a person’s life and experiences. Starting with birth, physical events are taking place in
order to form the body. As the person grows and ages, physical events are continuously causing new effects.
For example, if they were to be diagnosed with a life-threatening form of cancer their body would slowly
begin deteriorate and they may feel pain, sadness, etc. No matter what obstacles a person may face, they are
likely to have been caused by physical, external factors.
When Descartes presented his argument for duality, many began to question how it was possible for
an esoteric, non-physical substance (the mind) to move and interact with a physical and tangible substance
(the body). In 1643, Princess Elizabeth of Bavaria wrote a letter to Descartes responding to his claim. She
mentioned that it was difficult to understand “the idea by which we must judge how the soul (un-extended
and immaterial) can move the body.” She proposed an alternative view, “to concede matter and extension to
the soul, [rather] than the capacity to move a body and to be moved, in an immaterial being.” Descartes’
argument makes it difficult to understand how a substance that is not influenced by natural laws can affect a
substance that is. Causality is defined by contact, impact, movement, and force. Since the mind, according to
Descartes, is defined as a nonmaterial thing, it should not be able have an effect on the body. Although
Descartes identified the pineal gland as being the point of connection between the mind and the body, it still
does not define how a relationship can exist between them. It would be akin to a ghost taking possession of a
human body and acting as it pleases. It is nearly impossible to explain this phenomenon through science.
With interactionism, the characteristics of the body (occupies space, tangible, etc.) would also have be present
in the mind.
In his text, Carruthers summarizes the mind-brain identity thesis under three premises: 1. Certain
conscious states are causally necessary in order for some physical events to take place, 2. Neuro-physiological
science can logically explain physical to physical causality, and 3. Some conscious states are identical to
physical brain-states (Carruthers 320). The identity-thesis is consistent with the idea of ‘physicalism,’ as it
states that humans are fully physical beings that have the capacity to be detected. In other words, the human
body can be broken up into smaller parts (organs, bones, the brain, etc.) that can be examined by the senses.
According to the physicalist view, everything in the world is made up of matter. Mental states can be
explained by brain functions, such as neuron activity and chemical composition. This model may seem
unfavorable to some as it makes the claim that humans do not act freely and only respond to brain-processes.
People may feel as though they do not act upon free will but are only doing things in response to what their
body needs. In essence, their dreams, goals, and “choices” are completely dictated by the brain and can be
explained by physical events. The identity-thesis presented by Peter Carruthers negates Descartes claim and
defines all mental states as being physical states that can be explained by various brain-processes (Carruthers
319). ‘Physical causation’ (as introduced earlier in this essay) explains the relationship between the brain and
the body: physical events that occur in nature answer the question of why the body reacts as it does. Say a
person drove themselves to the hospital to treat a burn they inflicted upon themselves while cooking. The
person had to be conscious of the pain they were feeling in order to seek help. This consciousness arose from
their ailment, the body’s natural response to the burn. Through a series of cause and effect, the mental
awareness of pain can be traced back to the physical event of the person placing their hand on a hot stove
(Carruthers 319).
It may seem difficult to understand how the brain can be responsible for personal sensations such as
emotions and wants. Carruthers examines an argument against the identity-thesis that tries to separate the
mind from the body. First, conscious states are private and are reserved to each person. The brain’s processes
are not necessarily private, and “they form part of the public realm.” Therefore, the brain-states and the
conscious-states are two different things (Carruthers 321). Although each person may be subjected to their
own personalities, there is strong scientific evidence that shows how the brain reacts in response to certain
emotions or perceptions. For example, studies have shown that depression can be caused by chemical
imbalances regarding unstable serotonin levels. Many mental illnesses can be attributed to physical ailments,
such as the lack of empathy in patients with borderline personality disorder. Those with BPD are found to
have an accelerated shared representation network (involved in the visceral identification of mental states)
and an impaired mental state attribution network (responsible for judgements made toward other’s feelings).
In the same way that each person’s anatomy differs, the way their brain processes certain information and
experiences can greatly differ. This can explain how people react differently to the same experiences or how
they cope with particular emotions. One of the objections Carruthers faced when explaining the mind-brain
identity thesis is related to this and the privacy of each person’s thinking. The argument is based upon three
premises: 1. Conscious states are unique and private to each person, 2. Brain-states are not private because
they are physical and are part of the physical realm, and 3. In conclusion (by Leibniz’s Law), conscious states
are not identical to brain-states. Peter Carruthers argues that although conscious states are private and in
accordance to each individual, so are brain-states. Two people cannot be thinking the same things, in the
same way, at the same time. Therefore, conscious states are not exactly unique in respect to privacy of
Descartes thesis on mind-body dualism is an admirable effort in trying to define the soul and human
nature. If a complete explanation supported by solid evidence were to present itself in favor of Descartes
claim, many complex questions would be answered. However, it is currently nearly impossible to fully grasp
the concept of a non-spatial mind that can act upon the physical body. Although the mind-brain identity
thesis presents a more logical explanation, it still does not resolve all of the issues. Still, there is scientific
evidence that must be collected if one were to make the bold claim that humans are entirely physical beings.
Further questions that may be addressed include: how can reasoning be explained by physical processes?
How do wants and dreams come about? Are personalities determined by physical differences in the brain?
There are still many implications that must be solved before philosophers can reach the “truth.”
Works Cited
Carruthers, Peter. “The Mind is the Brain.” Introducing Persons: An Introduction to the Philosophy of the Mind,
London: Croom Helm, 1986, pp. 319-327.
Descartes, Rene. “Meditation VI.” Meditations on First Philosophy, translated by John Veitch, 1901, pp. 42-51.

Calculate your order
Pages (275 words)
Standard price: $0.00
Client Reviews
Our Guarantees
100% Confidentiality
Information about customers is confidential and never disclosed to third parties.
Original Writing
We complete all papers from scratch. You can get a plagiarism report.
Timely Delivery
No missed deadlines – 97% of assignments are completed in time.
Money Back
If you're confident that a writer didn't follow your order details, ask for a refund.

Calculate the price of your order

You will get a personal manager and a discount.
We'll send you the first draft for approval by at
Total price:
Power up Your Academic Success with the
Team of Professionals. We’ve Got Your Back.
Power up Your Study Success with Experts We’ve Got Your Back.
WeCreativez WhatsApp Support
Our customer support team is here to answer your questions. Ask us anything!
👋 Hi, how can I help?