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Discuss the impact on Psychology of Descartes' introduction of mind-body dualism - Essay Example

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Running Head: Impact of Descartes on Psychology Impact of Descartes on Psychology Impact of Descartes on Psychology Descartes’ description of body and mind dualism advocates that body and mind are two separate entities…
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Discuss the impact on Psychology of Descartes introduction of mind-body dualism
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Discuss the impact on Psychology of Descartes' introduction of mind-body dualism

Download file to see previous pages... He has been faced with grave critiques since he tried to describe the two substances separate as well as unified (Grant, pp. 486, 2000). Descartes, quite technically, defends his idea by saying that when a person performs certain action or behaves in a specific kind of way in the absence of his conscious mind, his body is a manifestation of a mechanical working. However, when human psychology or consciousness is in full swing and functions properly, that is the time the person’s rational soul unites with his other entity, which is called the mechanical human body (Grant, pp. 487, 2000). Thus, the separation of the two substances is to the extent when mental attention is not up to the mark; nevertheless, with the union of body and mind, the human psychology plays a vital role with its optimum concentration and inclination. To view the whole notion in psychological perspective, what Descartes points out is that the functions of thinking, reasoning, questioning, analyzing, and rationalizing are wholly and exclusively performed by the soul. Yet, this soul does not take any physical space. However, for this soul to think and rationalize, the manifestation occurs in the existence of the body that does not think but takes a physical space. Thus, the identity of a person is made so concerning its distinct soul that rationalizes and not with its distinct body which is visible. In this case, when the soul has the power to think and manipulate, it even has the power to exist without a physical substance vis-a-vis the body and this is how Descartes makes the distinction. To understand it more clearly, Descartes claimed that the two substances can live without each other but a living human being can be made with the union of the two, exclusively and exhaustively. Hence, the impact on human psychology is based on the soul and not the body, which is void of all moral values and behavioral distinctions. Moreover, the impact on the psychology that Descartes’ mind and body idea makes can also be understood with an example given by Descartes himself. Descartes uses the example of phantom limb pain and explains that when a person for whatever reasons gets any of his arms or legs amputated, he might still feel pain in the missing portion of his body even after sometime. Therefore, the body is not just a visible autonomous being but is greatly linked and intermingled with the mind or the soul. Moreover, this interaction is such that in the psychology of the person, that amputated part of the body still exists even if it is apparently not there and that is the cause of the pain (Grant, pp. 488, 2000). Hence, body and mind/soul make a unit, the two might be two distinct objects but there being together has a great impact on psychology as earlier discussed. Descartes’ concepts are more vividly explained in the aspect of pain that a human feels. He says that it is not merely the transmission of neurons to the brain to feel a certain kind of pain in the body, it is more of a though process that occurs in the mind/soul to feel and encounter a pain. Thus, the feeling of pain as encountered by a human’s mind/soul has a thorough impact on the psychology of the person to feel or not to feel the pain and to what extent he does that (Grant, pp. 496-499, 2000). Thus, all kind of pain or sensation is psychological and not bodily, as a person’s mind has to perceive the pain first for the overall human to perceive it. It was for the first time that the animal life was referred as that of machines. Descartes was of the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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