November 12, 2008 Intro to Philosophy Critical Analysis of Dualism, Monism, and Solipsism In this report I will give my critical analysis of the strengths, weaknesses, and clarity of dualism, monism, and solipsism. According to dualists, a human being is both a physical body, and a non-physical mind. We can easily determine properties that are physical. Anything that takes up space can be considered a physical property. However, it is nearly impossible to determine exactly what non-physical properties are.
Without knowing exactly what non-physical properties are, it is difficult to etermine if both physical and non physical properties can work together.
If we can not see the mind or soul in nature, can we be sure it exists? If the non-physical soul does exist, can it affect the physical body? Can a non-physical mind cause the physical body to move? For example, if I decide to go to a football game, and do so, then physical energy must increase in and around my body, since I got up and went to the football game.
Where did this physical energy come from?
Since we know that energy can be neither created nor destroyed, in order for physical energy to increase n any system, it has to be transferred from another physical system. Dualism suggests that the mind is not a physical system. If the mind is not a physical system, how does energy transfer from it? If energy is not transferred, then it must be created. Can the soul create new energy to move the body? Since energy cannot be created, this would be impossible to prove.
Maybe thinking that our mind is different from our body is similar to Lois Lane thinking that Clark Kent is different than Superman.
Is it possible for the mind to exist without the body? According to dualists, yes, it is possible. So if the mind can exist without the body, can any part of the physical body exist without the physical body? No matter what we do to the body, the energy will still exist in some form or another. This would make it impossible for any part of the physical body to exist without the physical body. Since the mind can exist without the physical body, the mind is not part of the physical body. Can our physical body exist without the mind? For example, if someone dies and their body is still laying there, it is evident that the body still exists.
But how can you tell if their mind still exists? At this point we can fgure that the mind must be somewhere else. Its hard to imagine ourselves becoming separate from the body. But believing in this separation is what determines the difference between one whole body and mind, and a body separate from the mind. According to monists, a human being is identical with their body. In a monist state of mind the body is made up of one whole, rather than of many pieces. The body originally exists as a whole, and particles can be derived from it. If this is true, how do we know which is prior? For example, imagine a circle.
Now imagine it divided into two semicircles. Which is prior? The whole circle, or the two semicircles? Did the two semicircles adjoin to make a whole circle? Or did the whole circle divide to make two semicircles? According to monists have to disprove that the circle was originally two semicircles. This would be impossible to do, which makes the theory of monism unclear. If a monist believes that a whole circle is prior, this means that they believe the whole body is one prior. Since monists believe that only either mind or matter can make up existence, does this mean that the mind cannot exist?
Or does it mean than the mind and body annot exist separately? Solipsism is the belief that only the self is real. Solipsists believe this because they suppose that we can only verify our own experiences, and no one else’s. Therefore they believe that we create our own experiences. If this is true, where do the experiences come from? If they are self generated, how did the self come into existence? If the belief that creating our own experience is true, wouldn’t that mean that only one person in the world can be a solipsist and be correct in believing so?
If two Solipsists ever meet, one of them are wrong in their belief. For example, if I am a solipsists and I am standing in line at the grocery store, and I speak to someone else who claims to be a solipsist then one of us is Just a creation of the others imagination. There is no way to verify if I am correct, or if the other person is correct. Solipsists also believe that what we are currently experiencing is the only thing that exists. So the grocery store that I was standing in didn’t exist until I made it exist in my mind. If all we have is what is current, how can we have built what is here?
Another problem I see with the belief of solipsism is that t seems that solipsists believe that the world is more complicated than solipsism. If solipsism is true, then the world must be a dream in our own mind. If this is true, then our mind must be complex enough to stimulate an entire world. Wouldn’t you believe that something strong enough to stimulate an entire world must be more complicated than the world itself? I believe that it is extremely difficult to validate solipsism. However, the only difficulty I have in refuting solipsism is that it is impossible to validate any experiences other than your own.
Therefore it is mpossible to prove any life is actually alive and not Just a creation of our mind that acts as if it was alive. After collecting so many thoughts about dualism, monism, and solipsism it is easiest for me to identify most with dualism. I know that the theory has its blemishes, but I find it difficult for me to believe that our mind or soul does not exist. I believe that our physical being is made up of more than Just our body. I have trouble agreeing with monists that we can be made up of only mind OR matter. For me, it is unfathomable to believe that we exist primarily because we created everything ourselves.
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