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-Dualism is a metaphysical view of human nature explaining the fundamental differences between body and mind
-The body exists on a physical level that can be measured and observed by all. The mind, soul and consciousness are what makes you who you are (your essence), and they exist on a separate, invisible level. The body and mind are fundamentally different.

-Descartes described body as being an entity made of matter that takes up space and has a defined shape. To contrast, a mind takes up no space, and has no defined shape.

-Human beings are the link between these two existential levels. They allow the physical (their bodies) and nonphysical (their minds) to interact with the each other through themselves as a conduit.

-Dualism is a philosophy that can be extended beyond human nature to encompass all of existence and separate it into the physical and the non-physical. There are even more dualist subsections to reality, such as good and evil, light and dark, etc.


-Proofs supporting dualism include:
  • When people's bodies weaken, their minds can still remain strong. People's minds can also weaken while their bodies remain strong. This means that the mind and body are not completely dependent on one another.

  • The philosophical zombie. A philosophical zombie is a being that solely reacts to its environment and lacks consciousness. If such an entity can be imagined, it shows that a mind and a body can exist separately.

    • If we can conceive of one thing without the other, then those two things are different. We can imagine a body without a soul and a soul without a body, so the soul and the body must be different.


-Democritus (460-370 BC) could be thought of as the founder of dualism's ideas. He stated that the entirety of the universe is composed of matter and non-matter.

-Plato (427-348 BC) believed that the mind and soul were the same. The soul exists before and after the body, and is therefore fundamentally different from it.


-St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) said that human beings were not just a body or just a soul but a composite material between the body and soul.

  • "Humans are the boundary line of spiritual and corporeal nature, and intermediate between the two, sharing in both corporeal and spiritual perfections."

-René Descartes (1596-1650) stated "I think therefore I am," which demonstrates that for one to actually exist, one must have the ability to think, not just be a body, meaning the mind and body can't be the same. Descartes also proposed that humans were the link between body and soul. He said the the soul and the body interact a tiny gland in the brain called the pineal gland.

  • "The soul by which I am is entirely distinct from my body."

-Some philosophers, such as Gottfried Leibniz and Nicolas Malebranche, tried to oppose dualism by saying that the body and mind never really interact, but are either coincidentally synchronized, or that God is responsible for our mental state. Other philosophers, like Thomas Hobbes, reject the idea of a soul and mind separate from the body altogether.