Lisa K. Storrs

        Most generally, dualism is the view that reality consists of two disparate parts.  As a metaphysical theory, dualism states that the world is made up of two elemental categories which are incommensurable.  This includes distinctions between mind and body, good and evil, universal and particular, etc.  It is, of course, the distinction between mind and body which is of most immediate interest to philosophers of the mind.  Dualism contends you must have both of the two components in question, rather than one or the other.  Dualism of the mind and body is an ancient concept which is deeply rooted in Greek thought.  The Greeks held that a man's soul was of an entirely different essence than his body. Furthermore, they held that these dual entities had absolutely no interaction with one another.  Dualism implies the absolute dichotomy of soul and body.  Ren? Descartes (1596-1650) popularized the theory of dualism in modern philosophy.  He believed in an independent soul inhabiting and finding expression in a mechanically operated body.  Descartes used his famous aphorism as proof of mind/body dualism: "I think, therefore I am."  He held that the two components which make up man are of a fundamentally different nature. The body could be divided up by the removal of a leg or an arm, but the soul was indivisible.

The Mind/Body Problem  (
This web page discusses a book entitled Descartes’ Error which agrees with Cartesian mind-body dualism, but suggests that a more appropriate statement would be "I am, therefore I think."

Dualism  (http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/d/dualism.htm)
This web page is from the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy and gives a brief explanation of dualistic ideas as well as some information on contrasting philosophical theories.

Dictionary of Philosophy of Mind - Dualism  (http://artsci.wustl.edu/~philos/MindDict/dualism.html)
This page gives an introduction to dualism, the ideas of Descartes, and the ideas of modern dualists.

Remarks on the Relations Between Soul and Body  (http://www.fmag.unict.it/PolPhil/Tward/TwardRem.html)
This is an article by Kazimierz Twardowski which examines the many possible ways to evaluate the relations between mind and body, including ideas of dualism and monism.

Rene Descartes and the Legacy of Mind/Body Dualism  (http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/Mind/Descartes.html)
This web page gives a very detailed explanation of Rene Descartes, the 17th century reaction to mind-body dualism, the 18th century ideas of monism, as well as recent ideas and research regarding the mind and the brain.

Descartes’ Mind-Body Dualism  (http://sun1.iusb.edu/~lzynda/descartes.html)
This web link gives a summary of Cartesian ideas and thoughts on the mind-body relationship, and also gives a series of interesting "Questions for Discussion" which makes the reader think more deeply about dualism.

Mind/Body Dualism:  Positive and Negative Implications  (http://www.geocities.com/Athens/8160/mbd.htm)
The author promotes the idea that dualism is not a dead theory because of its implications on such issues as life after death, human rationality, morality, and individuality.

Dualism:  An Empirical Test   (http://users.ox.ac.uk/~worc0337/dualism.html)
This web page is devoted to the idea of brain transplant, and the ramifications this would have on theories of mind-body dualism if the person can survive with the mind separated from its body and implanted in another.

Descartes’ "Meditations on First Philosophy"  (http://www.utm.edu/research/iep/text/descart/des-med.htm)
This web link provides us with a translation of Descartes’ 1641 treatise about God, truth, the mind, imagination, and discusses some basic philosophic ideas such as dualism.

Addition submitted by Adam LaRue, Fall, 1998:

Jounal of Mind and Behavior   (http://kramer.ume.maine.edu/~jmb/welcome.html)
Interdisciplinary, refereed journal explores relationships between methodology, operationism, and theory construction related to mind/body dualism.

Return to class readings page:  Kinesiology 493: Philosophy of Kinesiology