Philosophy of the Human Person

Explain Descartes argument in Meditation II which establishes the nature of the I, and what he argues the I cannot be. Be sure to lay out the argument here, not just the position. What kind of thing are you according to Descartes Then, explain how David Hume andor Buddha would argue against the Cartesian Ego-Self, opting instead for a bundle theory of the self. This may require some research. What is the bundle theory and how does it differ from Descartes account Explain which account of the self you find more convincing and give some evidence to support your position.

Descartes commences the second meditation by presuming that all of his prior beliefs are in question. As such, he is obliged to question whether anything of certainty exists. Here, he assumes that he can be certain of nothing whereupon he requires a single indubitable belief that can act as a basis for the reconstruction of his knowledge. He refers to this foundation as an Archimedean point, which primarily is one aspect, despite its slightness is not only unshakeable but also certain. Putting into consideration the doubts surfacing in the First Meditation, we are led to believe that one thing that we can be certain of is our very own existence. Despite this, to infer that an individual exists from the mere aspect that heshe doubts himself is so natural and simple in itself that it might have come from anyones pen (Droar, 2006). As such, it can be established that this is by no means dependent on the body. This is out of the fact that the bodys existence together with all aspects that come with it can be in doubt yet an individual is still able to affirm hisher own existence. As such, an individuals existence cannot be said to be solely dependent on a body.

 The only quality inextricably bound to an individuals existence is thinking. It can be concluded here that   an individual is a thing that only thinks, is an intelligence, a mind, an intellect or a reason, something which truly exists and is real. However, what remains hard to be comprehended here is what kind of a thing is the individual Is an individual to be concluded as a thinking thing (Grayling, 2005) Central to the nature of the human being is thought whereupon Descartes concludes this thought to be multifaceted whereupon it can doubt, judge, is willing and it can also sense. In each one of these cases, the mental actions involved neither presupposes the bodys existence nor the external world.
Hume in his bundle theory, unlike Descartes, postulates that there exists no such thing as identity. The two primary theories of identity focus on the facet of continuity of the self. One aspect contends that continuity is provided by memory and psychological phenomena while the other asserts that it is provided by the physical form.   Unlike Descartes who separates thought from the essence of the body, Hume enjoins the two arguing that the two cannot be separated as the object is a conglomeration of its collected properties (Arrod, 2006).

Question 3. The MindBody Problem.Explain Descartes argument for substance dualism and how this would refute the materialist position of Hobbes. Be sure to explain the fundamental difference between these two accounts of the mind, and the argument Descartes gives for substance dualism. Then explain how the argument from either Frank Jackson (What Mary Doesnt Know) andor Thomas Nagel (What Is It Like To Be A Bat) establishes the position of property dualism. Be sure to explain the difference between substance dualism and property dualism, and the line of argument for property dualism. Which of the positions explained here, or any other positions on the nature of mind defended in the literature on the MindBody Problem do you think is the most plausible account of the mind Explain why it is more plausible to you than others. You can do some research here and use the links for the mindbody problem on my website.

Descartes puts across a series of arguments to sustain the notion that the mind and the body are different in distinct ways. Each one of these arguments for substance dualism takes on a similar logical structure. Firstly, they identify a characteristic which the body has but the mind on the other hand lacks. Secondly, they infer that as a result of the fact that the two have distinct features, they cannot be said to be identical. Such arguments are pegged on Leibniz with his principle of the indiscernability of identicals (Kazlev, 2004). This principle contends that if two things are one and the same whereupon they are identical it is absolutely impossible to tell them apart.

Pierre Gassendi and Thomas Hobbes were the pioneers of the materialist tradition which was an opposition to Descartes attempts to provide natural sciences with a dualist base. The emphasis of the two was on the nature of humans. They insisted that the mind together with the soul is entirely dependent on the physical properties of matter.

Frank Jacksons Mary, a brilliant neurophysiologist- cum-physicist who, despite the fact that she  was restricted from her birth to a black and white environment, came to know all there was to know with regard to the neurophysiology and physics - including related functional facts of color experience. She was later released from her environment of black and white whereupon she learnt something about color experience she had not known before - or so are the intuitions of Jackson. Since by presumption, Mary already knew everything there was to know regarding the neurophysiology and physics of color experience, her new knowledge she is supposed to have acquired has to do with something else other than neurophysiology and physics. On the contrary, it is rather an intrinsic qualitative aspect of color experience which cannot be captured through physical, including functional theory.Henceforth, it can be concluded that dualism is indeed true.

Property dualism, basing on the arguments above is a theory of the mind. It contends the existence of a single and physical substance unlike Cartesian dualism but goes on to postulate that this said single substance has two potential features which primarily are mental and physical states that cannot be reduced.  In a fundamental sense, substance dualism has been advanced by property dualism which has several advantages over the latter. Firstly, it invokes only a single substance avoiding the problems of location and interaction which are associated with the non-spatial Cartesian mental substance. It is not also rooted in religious beliefs and as such it has a more scientific basis compared to Descartes theory.


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