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Arguments For Property Dualism

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Arguments for Property Dualism Property dualism proclaims the existence of a single, physical substance (unlike Cartesian dualism), but argues that this single substance has two potential properties: physical and mental states that are not reducible. It is not just that we might talk of mental and physical states in different ways, but that the difference is in ontology as well as language. This is equivalent to historical notions that living things contained some 'vital force'. Essentially mental states are an extra property of matter in the brain. Property dualists argue that consciousness is caused by the physical processes of the brain and that mental properties are caused by physical properties, but have no effect themselves on the physical properties, making the relationship one way. Fundamentally, property dualism is an advancement of substance dualism, and over this theory it has several advantages. Firstly, by having only a single substance it avoids to the problems of interaction and location associated with the non-spatial Cartesian mental substance. Secondly, it is not rooted in religious beliefs and is thus more scientifically based than Descartes' theory. ...read more.


She has always lived in a black and white room, viewed the external world through a black and white TV monitor, and eaten food that had been dyed black and white, and so on. Suppose now that for the first time Mary opens the door to her room and enters the Great World, and that the first thing she sees is a banana. Surely she comes to know something then that she had not known before - what yellow things actually look like, the Qualia. Before she knew that yellow things reflect light waves of such and such wavelength, and she knew how the eyes and brain process information about that wavelength, but a colour blind person could know all of this stuff. What Mary now knows, and what the colour blind person will never know, is how yellow things appear, or what it is like to see something yellow. First premise: Before Mary left her black and white room; she knew all of the physical facts about colour and colour perception. ...read more.


Pain is a simple, unanalyzable property, but brain states are structural characteristics, in the sense that they entail the existence of microentities interacting with one another causally in various ways. First premise: Every pain is resolvable into simple constituents that are unanalyzable. Second premise: Every brain state corresponding to a pain, including every brain state corresponding to a simple pain, is analyzable into a large number of particulate objects interacting causally with one another. Lemma: Hence, simple pains have a property that brain states lack - the property being unanalyzable. Third premise: If x has a property that y does not have, then x is not identical with Y. Conclusion: Pains are not identical with brain states. Would it be possible to reply by saying that pain might be analyzable in reality even though it doesn't seem analyzable to us? No. This would make sense only if it was possible to draw an appearance/reality distinction with respect to pains. Therefore mental and physical states have two different properties. ...read more.

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