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  1. #1
    AryanK is offline Newbie
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    Default Two paragraphs of a philosophy essay -Help me correct the mistakes-

    Hey everyone

    So, school has started again and I have to write another English essay now, this time for my self-taught philosophy course and about "mind-body problem". I started off by an introduction paragraph and continued talking about duality in the second paragraph. I will write two more paragraphs tomorrow (I have to write at least 1500 words on this!). Could you please read them and correct my possible mistakes?

    Philosophy is very interesting, because whenever you try to answer one question, several new questions occur concerning the same issue! We usually view the mind as the brain and body as something physical, but in philosophy this issue isn’t as simple as it sounds. The Mind-body problem arises from the concept of mind being different than matter. However, from this concept arise a few questions. If mind is different than matter, then what is the nature of it, and how do mind and matter affect each other? Another important question is that is mind part of the reality? If mind is a part of reality and it’s different than matter, then what is reality? These are the questions which intrigued philosophers such as Plato and René Descartes to think about them, and although they have their own beliefs and reasons to defend them, there are still arguments over them. The discussion over the relationship between mind and body is divided into two extensive categories: dualism and monism.

    The word Dualism comes from the Latin root of duo which means two. According to this idea mind and body are two separate substances, therefore nothing that is part of the body can be part of the mind, nor can anything that is part of the mind be part of the body. John Locke and René Descartes were among the dualistic philosophers who found this idea. Descartes connected the material and perceptible world to physics and the spiritual soul to metaphysics, believing that these two worlds are in different realities, but they’re both still real. Descartes thought that the metaphysical world of mind is more secure than the physical world of matter, as we are more confident to prove that our thoughts are right, but everything in the external world might be wrong without us knowing it. The movie “Inception” was probably based on a similar assumption which says that the dream (mind) reality is a continuing reality, an independent and stand alone universe from the external world of matter, and the movie also tried to play with the definition of “reality”. There are still a few questions that need to be answered concerning the idea of duality. If mind and body are radically different substances, how is it that the mind and body can interact at all? Descartes was a religious person so he believed that God has given us the power of influencing our bodies using our minds without having contact.
    Thanks a lot in advance!

  2. #2
    AryanK is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Two paragraphs of a philosophy essay -Help me correct the mistakes-

    Thanks a lot! I didn't know that we should use "the" before the word "mind".

    What do you think about this paragraph?
    Monism is the opposite of Dualism, and it is the claim that everything that exists is basically the same kind, in our case meaning that the mind and body are not distinct kinds of beings. The word Monism comes from the prefix of mon which has the meaning of alone, single and one. This word was first used by Christian Wolff in his work Psychologia Rationalis published in 1734 to symbolize the philosophical theories which recognized only an individual kind of reality, whether physical or psychical. Monists such as Parmenides, who was the first philosopher to give out this view, believe that reality consists of a single element and the principle that "all is one". Monism itself is divided into three types. Idealism or mentalistic monism holds that only the mind is real, and the only reality is the psychical reality. Physicalism, also known as materialism holds that only the physical world is real, and the mind doesn’t exist in reality. Neutral monism is somehow in the middle of Idealism and Materialism and holds that everything can be either mental or physical depending how you see it. For example this essay can be physical because it’s a physical and touchable paper, but it can also be mental because our mind processes and reads the words.

  3. #3
    AryanK is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Two paragraphs of a philosophy essay -Help me correct the mistakes-

    Thanks a lot. I never really thought about that, but I tried to use "the" correctly in these two paragraphs. Could you please read these two as well and tell me if I have mistakes?

    I think the arguments of Monism vs. Dualism are similar to those of Science vs. Religion. They will never end, and yet they share large borders with each other. For example, a Materialistic Monist would say that "Mind" is a concept which refers to an individual’s subjective and conscious, experience through the body’s 5 senses, and it resides inside the brain. Brain is a part of body, and body is physical, therefore the mind is physical, and the physical world is the only existing reality. A Dualist would argue that mind has its own place other than body, so when the physical body dies and doesn’t exist anymore, the mind would still exist and it would fly away like spirit. Again the Materialistic Monist would dispute that People are made of atoms, and atoms are entirely physical objects, with nothing but physical properties and physical relations to one another. At this point the Dualist would respond that maybe atoms do have some undiscovered properties other the physical mass, charge and position. People experience pains, emotions, and desires. Therefore they have mental states. The materialist would again defend his ideas by using the atomic and evolutionary theories, and say that "Mind" is a concept which refers to an individual’s subjective and conscious, experience through the body’s 5 senses, coming from brain which is physical. This argument would continue forever.

    Now imagine if there were two different realities, mental and physical. How do these two worlds interact with each other and affect each other? The answer to that question depends on what you believe in. Cartesian dualists who follow Descartes and are religious believe that God has given us the innate power of having our minds and bodies communicate with each other in a contactless manner. Other dualists have turned to different beliefs. Some believe in Interactionism which follows common sense by giving the view that there’s a two-way causation between the mind and the body. However, Interactionism only follows common sense and that isn’t enough to prove anything for some dualists. These people have endorsed Epiphenomenalism, which says that there’s only a one-way causation between the mind and the body, and mental causation doesn’t exist. Thus, only physical events give rise to mental events, but not vice versa. Epiphenomenalism may avoid some of the problems of dualism, but some problems still remain unanswered. Some other dualists resort to Parallelism and avoid all the problems. Parallelism denies that the mind and the body interact at all. According to parallelists there is no forthright causal link between the mind and the body.

    Our minds and bodies keep interacting with each other all the time. The mind is giving the body messages to function all the time. Scientifically, these messages are in fact electrical currents moving from the mind throughout the body, inside the nervous system, in milliseconds. The body cannot function without the mind. This is why those who are brain dead cannot live, move nor interact with others anymore. The functionality of the body is dependent on the mind. Descartes believed that the mind could exist without the body. On the other hand, however, the mind is part of the brain, and brain is a physical entity that requires oxygen and food so cannot exist without the body. The mind and the body are dependent on each other, and if one is not working properly it can affect the other’s functioning.

    The Mind-Body problem is one of the oldest philosophical problems. Plato was among the first dualists and Aristotle was one of the first materialists in history. Nowadays many modern philosophers have rejected the idea of mind and matter existing as different substances. However, many are still realists about mind. There are many different beliefs, intuitions and ideas about how mind and body interact with each other, but since it’s still difficult to draw a strict line between the mind and the brain, it’s still not easy to give a certain answer to that question. Many people think that it’s safe to say that mind and body are related and their functionality and existence depends on each other. Nonetheless, the argument of Thomistic Monism vs. Cartesian Dualism still continues.
    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by AryanK; 11-Sep-2010 at 20:46.

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