Minds and Machines

1) Briefly describe Descartes view of the relation between mind and
body. What, if anything, is wrong with this view?
Rene Descartes view of the relation between the mind and body, is a very
complicated one. However if one was to put it simply, Descartes view is that
the mind and the body are separate substances (Grayling 2001 p, 1). This
idea of the mind and body being separate entities is known as "Dualism".
Descartes claimed that because he could think of the mind and body as being
apart from each other, then they could also exist apart (Mattey2001 p, 10).
Descartes also stated that human bodies are "external" in that they can be
observed by others (Mattey 2001 p, 11). This ability to be observed, coupled
with the thought that a body is a part of space, also labeled the body as
"extended" and part of the "physical world".Descartes also believed that the
body was subordinate to mechanical laws (Ryle 1949 p,120). In contrast to
the body being external, Descartes declared that the mind was internal, in
that no one could observe the workings of the mind, aside from the person
themselves (Mattey p, 11). The mind was said to be part of the "mental
world". By taking Descartes views into account, one could then conclude that
a person is divided into two separate entities, the mind and the body.
However Descartes definitions of the relationship between the mind and
body, or more importantly the lack of, raised many problems for philosophers
and people in general (Kihlstrom p, 1). One of the major problems for
dualists, such as Descartes, to over come was initiated by the fact that the
body and mind can interact (Kihlstrom p, 2).This interaction can be seen
when one considers that the mind can control and cause actions in the body,
for example the movement of one's arms or legs. It can also be seen that the
body acts with the mind, …


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