William Hazlehurst

‘We are all basically physical beings’

This statement, “We are all basically physical beings” puts the point across that everybody has just a body and no non-physical aspect. This also shows that our body can be defined as the mass of matter whose weight is your weight. It has size, shape, mass, spatial and temporal position, but it has no non-physical spiritual aspect.

        The mind-body problem concerns the explanation of the relationship that exists between minds, or mental processes, and bodily states or processes. The main aim of philosophers working in this area is to determine the nature of the mind and mental states/processes, and

 whether the mind is part of the body, or the body is part of the mind? If they are distinct, then how do they interact? And which of the two is in charge?

        The non-material element is usually called the soul, spirit or mind It should also be stated that many argue for soul and mind being different, in that soul represents the spiritual aspect of man, whilst the mind is more linked to the brain and related to reasoning.

There are many different opinions to this statement, for example believers of dualism will have a very different view on this statement than people who believe materialism. Dualists, will disagree with the statement ‘We are all basically physical beings’ as they believe that people have both a mind and a physical body.

        The Greeks saw the body as a tomb or prison from the soul. The ultimate destiny of the soul was to be released from the body. This sort of idea is inherent in the Hindu idea of reincarnation, where the aim of the soul is not to be reincarnated into another body, but to be absorbed into the oneness of God. In contrast the traditional Christian view is expressed in terms of resurrection of the body. The relationship envisaged could be phased as ‘ My Body is my soul’s proper home, my soul is my body’s proper master.’ However it should be noted that recent Christian thinking has tended to emphasise the person as a whole.

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        The classic presentation of dualism is by Descartes. He argued that the body is spatial and in no sense conscious, whilst the mind is non-spatial and is conscious, having thoughts, feelings and desires for example, a regards the interrelationship of the body and the mind, Descartes favoured interactionism. This holds that states of consciousness can be causally affected by states of the body, and states of he body can be causally affected by states of consciousness. In other words, the mind and body can interact. An example would be drugs changing my perception and a nightmare causing me to scream ...

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