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Substance Dualism And The Mind And Body Philosophy Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 971 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The basic idea substance dualism is trying to point out is the soul and the body are separate entities. The soul is the owner of its experiences and remains the same through your lifetime. The body and brain are physical while the soul is a mental substance. So in this case James Hartley has lost his soul. That soul which is the possessor of all his experiences including that of the murder is gone.

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So let’s analyze James Hartley’s situation based on the three perspectives of substance dualism given in the article. The “basic awareness of the self” states that our individual experiences make us unique. For only I possess my experiences which are solely mine. In this case we should stop calling him James Hartley for it is obvious he is no longer that person, he no longer possesses the experiences “James Hartley” had.

In “unity and the first person perspective” it explains that no amount of third person descriptions of yourself can better describe you than you. I am I because I am aware of it through self-awareness. So James Hartley doesn’t even know his name and is relying on others to tell him who he is. Physically he is James Hartley but mentally he is not.

In “the modal argument” it states that if one could conceive an event than that event could be possible. It explains that we can easily conceive ourselves being disembodied but the same does not hold for our body and brain. We can mentally conceive ourselves being separated from the body. As stated in the article the soul is the owner of its experiences and is an enduring entity, meaning it’s not identical to its experiences it is in fact the conscious thing that has it. James Hartley in the article doesn’t have any “James Hartley” experiences so that would simply mean his soul has somehow separated from his body.

In Summary, it is not the body that makes the self it is the self that makes the body.

If I were the sheriff I would not have gone through with the hanging. The reason doesn’t even have anything to do with the story because I believe that ending someone’s life because you see it morally fit is an absurd idea. An eye for eye justice system is archaic and primitive. But to base it in the context of the story I would not have gone through with the hanging either because obviously something’s wrong with the person, he doesn’t know who he is or what he has done. It’s like you’re hanging a newborn. It’s just the body that’s the same but inside it’s someone else. A medical checkup would need to be performed on the man to determine what has happened to him. Hastily ending his life like that was clearly in poor judgment.

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Part B: What does it mean to be human?

Frankl is saying that our behavior is simply the product of the programming we have received genetically before birth as well as the constant programming we are receiving from our surroundings after birth. Human beings are simply extremely complex biological machines. The Nazis are the classic example of how normal thinking beings are able to commit heinous acts of violence against people who have done nothing to them by persistent brainwashing from a single mastermind or as I like to call it the master programmer. They make the perfect example because they seal the idea that humans are mere machines waiting to be programmed. Are our thoughts genuinely unique or simply the regurgitation of our genetic predisposition and the teachings we have received throughout our life? Well the Nazis seemed to have proven the latter.

Frankl believed that the “blood and soil” concept of human life was developed at the desks and in lecture halls of nihilistic scientist and philosophers because these are the group of people who would dare go against the ideas established order has set forth. It seems that the most dangerous weapon a human can create is the perception of truth. So the Nazis believe that what they are doing is justified because of the “truth” that Jews are evil and therefore must be eradicated. So these scientists and philosophers are able to use “truth” as a weapon. They are able to project their ideas as the truth for the rest to blindly swallow.

Part C: The Good Brahman

Knowledge is better. Well the story does point out one good fact that is to choose reason over happiness is to be mad. So why than do we not choose happiness? If I were to tell you human beings had the tendency to be mad would this surprise you? In fact I think our lust for knowledge far exceeds any desire for mere happiness. That would be what separates us from animals I suppose, we value knowledge more. To not question would simply not be human. Maybe it might also have to do with our ego. Our ego governs us. To be imbecilic is to hurt our ego. As childish as the idea might be but what if we are just too egotistical to bow down to the simple beliefs like god has a purpose for us. If a huge ego went hand in hand with being without common sense we would readily accept happiness. What I mean by this is we would like to give in to the idea that we are intelligent because we ask all these questions others don’t. I am smarter than you because I think and you don’t. We shudder at the thought of gaining happiness through false beliefs. We do not believe that to be true happiness. Maybe just maybe this very fact is the only reason we choose to keep on looking for answers for things we very well know we cannot answer during our lifetime. To gain happiness via false beliefs is almost like gaining huge amounts of money through stealing. You cheated for your quick grab at happiness.


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