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Argument Against Substance Dualism

Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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6/22/2016 3:50:46 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
I came up with an argument against Substance Dualism and I would like to test it here. The argument attempts to show that SD entails a contradiction and cannot be realized in the actual world.

If SD is true, then my immaterial mind exists in physical space. I live in Canada for example, and it certainly seems as if my mind exists in Canada. It's not as if my mind exists in California or Mars (and my mind is certainly not omnipresent). Therefore, we can conclude that if SD is true that my immaterial mind has a location in space. The problem with this is that if my mind/ soul is immaterial then this means it doesn't take up any space like material things take up space. Can we make sense of something of substance existing within space that doesn't take up space? I think not, and that the very notion is impossible. It doesn't matter how small something gets we could still point to it and say "it is there". But if it all of a suddon had 0 spatial extension then there is nothing to point to. Thus, saying it has a location is space would be false. This means that if SD is true then both of these propositions are true:

1. My mind has a location in space (as my mind is here, and not in California or Mars)

2. My mind does not have a location in space (as it doesn't take up any space, meaning there is nothing to point to in space which we can say "the mind is here")

Since SD entails a contradiction then we can dismiss it as illogical. Thoughts?
InVinoVeritas
Posts: 59
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6/22/2016 4:39:23 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 3:50:46 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I came up with an argument against Substance Dualism and I would like to test it here. The argument attempts to show that SD entails a contradiction and cannot be realized in the actual world.

If SD is true, then my immaterial mind exists in physical space. I live in Canada for example, and it certainly seems as if my mind exists in Canada. It's not as if my mind exists in California or Mars (and my mind is certainly not omnipresent). Therefore, we can conclude that if SD is true that my immaterial mind has a location in space. The problem with this is that if my mind/ soul is immaterial then this means it doesn't take up any space like material things take up space. Can we make sense of something of substance existing within space that doesn't take up space? I think not, and that the very notion is impossible. It doesn't matter how small something gets we could still point to it and say "it is there". But if it all of a suddon had 0 spatial extension then there is nothing to point to. Thus, saying it has a location is space would be false. This means that if SD is true then both of these propositions are true:

1. My mind has a location in space (as my mind is here, and not in California or Mars)

2. My mind does not have a location in space (as it doesn't take up any space, meaning there is nothing to point to in space which we can say "the mind is here")

Since SD entails a contradiction then we can dismiss it as illogical. Thoughts?

Proponents of dualism would say that only physical objects are constrained by space, and therefore the mind does not occupy space"and hence cannot have a location (such as California or Canada). This does not mean that the mind is "omnipresent," since to be "present" means to be physically existent. Rather, the mind exists in a separate realm that lacks qualities of time and space.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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6/22/2016 4:41:53 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 4:39:23 AM, InVinoVeritas wrote:
At 6/22/2016 3:50:46 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I came up with an argument against Substance Dualism and I would like to test it here. The argument attempts to show that SD entails a contradiction and cannot be realized in the actual world.

If SD is true, then my immaterial mind exists in physical space. I live in Canada for example, and it certainly seems as if my mind exists in Canada. It's not as if my mind exists in California or Mars (and my mind is certainly not omnipresent). Therefore, we can conclude that if SD is true that my immaterial mind has a location in space. The problem with this is that if my mind/ soul is immaterial then this means it doesn't take up any space like material things take up space. Can we make sense of something of substance existing within space that doesn't take up space? I think not, and that the very notion is impossible. It doesn't matter how small something gets we could still point to it and say "it is there". But if it all of a suddon had 0 spatial extension then there is nothing to point to. Thus, saying it has a location is space would be false. This means that if SD is true then both of these propositions are true:

1. My mind has a location in space (as my mind is here, and not in California or Mars)

2. My mind does not have a location in space (as it doesn't take up any space, meaning there is nothing to point to in space which we can say "the mind is here")

Since SD entails a contradiction then we can dismiss it as illogical. Thoughts?

Proponents of dualism would say that only physical objects are constrained by space, and therefore the mind does not occupy space"and hence cannot have a location (such as California or Canada). This does not mean that the mind is "omnipresent," since to be "present" means to be physically existent. Rather, the mind exists in a separate realm that lacks qualities of time and space.

Yes, but if the mind doesn't exist within space then it couldn't interact with a body that does. In order for consciousness to reach the body to interact with it; it would have to enter space.
keithprosser
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6/22/2016 1:08:08 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
Philosophical terms can be confusing, but I think it is fair to say substance dualism is essentially belief in souls, that is to say the virew that a person consists of a duality of substances - body and soul.

The above argument seems to be that as souls don't have spatial extent, they cannot exist. I am not sure that is true, because the properties of 'soul substance' are completely undefined. Certainly 'body substance' (ie matter) necessarily has spatial extent, but that only provides the motivation for asserting that 'soul substance' cannot be the same as 'body substance', hence SD is indeed form of dualism. If 'soul stuff' had to share the properties of 'body stuff' (such as requiring spatial extent) then soul stuff would be the same as body stuff and it would reduce to monism.
Rational_Thinker9119
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6/22/2016 3:55:30 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 1:08:08 PM, keithprosser wrote:
Philosophical terms can be confusing, but I think it is fair to say substance dualism is essentially belief in souls, that is to say the virew that a person consists of a duality of substances - body and soul.

The above argument seems to be that as souls don't have spatial extent, they cannot exist. I am not sure that is true, because the properties of 'soul substance' are completely undefined. Certainly 'body substance' (ie matter) necessarily has spatial extent, but that only provides the motivation for asserting that 'soul substance' cannot be the same as 'body substance', hence SD is indeed form of dualism. If 'soul stuff' had to share the properties of 'body stuff' (such as requiring spatial extent) then soul stuff would be the same as body stuff and it would reduce to monism.

Yes, Monism has to be true is what the argument is saying. Souls can still exist even if they don't exist within space though, that is not the argument. The argument is that if space exists, then a soul cannot. Or, if a soul exists, then space cannot. The only way for the soul to reach a body to interact with it would be to enter space, but if it enters space then it must have spatial extension. If it has spatial extension then it's not a soul. This is the paradox of Substance Dualism.
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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6/22/2016 6:10:02 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
I don't see why a Substance Dualist would have to accept that one's immaterial mind exists at a certain location. They could say that one's physical brain exists in space, and one's immaterial mind is somehow tied to that brain, and that one's mental perceptions are determined by that brain (so you don't perceive yourself as being on, e.g., Mars, because the physical substrate of consciousness is not located on Mars).
Rational_Thinker9119
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6/22/2016 6:41:36 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 6:10:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't see why a Substance Dualist would have to accept that one's immaterial mind exists at a certain location. They could say that one's physical brain exists in space, and one's immaterial mind is somehow tied to that brain, and that one's mental perceptions are determined by that brain (so you don't perceive yourself as being on, e.g., Mars, because the physical substrate of consciousness is not located on Mars).

In order for the mind to reach the brain to have interactions with it, the mind would have to enter space or else there is a causal disconnection.
keithprosser
Posts: 1,895
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6/22/2016 9:27:49 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
I think that the 'interaction problem' inherent in substance dualism has never been properly solved. Descartes suggested such interaction occurred in the pineal gland, but AFAIK that view is no longer widely believed!
Rational_Thinker9119
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6/22/2016 9:36:20 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 9:27:49 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I think that the 'interaction problem' inherent in substance dualism has never been properly solved. Descartes suggested such interaction occurred in the pineal gland, but AFAIK that view is no longer widely believed!

I think the interaction problem shows Substance Dualism should be rejected.
n7
Posts: 1,355
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6/23/2016 2:04:39 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 3:50:46 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I came up with an argument against Substance Dualism and I would like to test it here. The argument attempts to show that SD entails a contradiction and cannot be realized in the actual world.

If SD is true, then my immaterial mind exists in physical space. I live in Canada for example, and it certainly seems as if my mind exists in Canada. It's not as if my mind exists in California or Mars (and my mind is certainly not omnipresent). Therefore, we can conclude that if SD is true that my immaterial mind has a location in space. The problem with this is that if my mind/ soul is immaterial then this means it doesn't take up any space like material things take up space. Can we make sense of something of substance existing within space that doesn't take up space? I think not, and that the very notion is impossible. It doesn't matter how small something gets we could still point to it and say "it is there". But if it all of a suddon had 0 spatial extension then there is nothing to point to. Thus, saying it has a location is space would be false. This means that if SD is true then both of these propositions are true:

1. My mind has a location in space (as my mind is here, and not in California or Mars)

2. My mind does not have a location in space (as it doesn't take up any space, meaning there is nothing to point to in space which we can say "the mind is here")

Since SD entails a contradiction then we can dismiss it as illogical. Thoughts?

There are actually dualists who believe the mind takes up space.

https://www.unc.edu...

Check out page 12.

Why does something have to have a point in space for it to exist? Other types of dualists may just reject the intuition that the mind exists in space.
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.


Uphold Marxist-Leninist-Maoist-Sargonist-n7ism.
keithprosser
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6/23/2016 3:51:52 AM
Posted: 5 months ago
Re page 12, I don't think there are really any such dualists, certainly not the author of the paper. I quite enoyed reading it !
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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6/23/2016 4:01:04 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 6:41:36 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 6/22/2016 6:10:02 PM, dylancatlow wrote:
I don't see why a Substance Dualist would have to accept that one's immaterial mind exists at a certain location. They could say that one's physical brain exists in space, and one's immaterial mind is somehow tied to that brain, and that one's mental perceptions are determined by that brain (so you don't perceive yourself as being on, e.g., Mars, because the physical substrate of consciousness is not located on Mars).

In order for the mind to reach the brain to have interactions with it, the mind would have to enter space or else there is a causal disconnection.

I agree that dualists don't have a good answer for how two different substances are supposed to interact, but this seems like a separate argument. I think the problem runs even deeper than that. If mind and physical reality are really two different substances, how are we as cognitive entities supposed to understand (let alone define) physical reality at all?
dylancatlow
Posts: 12,242
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6/23/2016 4:01:34 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/22/2016 9:27:49 PM, keithprosser wrote:
I think that the 'interaction problem' inherent in substance dualism has never been properly solved. Descartes suggested such interaction occurred in the pineal gland, but AFAIK that view is no longer widely believed!

It's hilariously arbitrary.
Rational_Thinker9119
Posts: 9,054
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6/23/2016 6:01:30 PM
Posted: 5 months ago
At 6/23/2016 2:04:39 AM, n7 wrote:
At 6/22/2016 3:50:46 AM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
I came up with an argument against Substance Dualism and I would like to test it here. The argument attempts to show that SD entails a contradiction and cannot be realized in the actual world.

If SD is true, then my immaterial mind exists in physical space. I live in Canada for example, and it certainly seems as if my mind exists in Canada. It's not as if my mind exists in California or Mars (and my mind is certainly not omnipresent). Therefore, we can conclude that if SD is true that my immaterial mind has a location in space. The problem with this is that if my mind/ soul is immaterial then this means it doesn't take up any space like material things take up space. Can we make sense of something of substance existing within space that doesn't take up space? I think not, and that the very notion is impossible. It doesn't matter how small something gets we could still point to it and say "it is there". But if it all of a suddon had 0 spatial extension then there is nothing to point to. Thus, saying it has a location is space would be false. This means that if SD is true then both of these propositions are true:

1. My mind has a location in space (as my mind is here, and not in California or Mars)

2. My mind does not have a location in space (as it doesn't take up any space, meaning there is nothing to point to in space which we can say "the mind is here")

Since SD entails a contradiction then we can dismiss it as illogical. Thoughts?

There are actually dualists who believe the mind takes up space.


https://www.unc.edu...

Check out page 12.

Interesting, however there is a reason why almost no dualists adhere to that. Even WLC would tell you that if something has spatial extension in a physical arena then it is material by definition.


Why does something have to have a point in space for it to exist?

I didn't say it had to have a spot in space to exist, just to exist in space (which should be self-evident).

Other types of dualists may just reject the intuition that the mind exists in space.

Almost all Substance Dualists you mean... The problem is that for the mind to reach the body to interact with it, the mind would have enter space or else there is a clear causal disconnection.