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Possible Solution to Descartes' Mind-Body Problem - Essay Example

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A Possible Solution to Descartes’ Mind-Body Problem (name) (subject) (teacher) (date)                 A Possible Solution to Descartes’ Mind-Body Problem For 17th century French philosopher Rene Descartes, the mind and the body exist independently of each other: “It is certain that I [that is, my mind, by which I am what I am] is entirely and truly distinct from my body, and may exist without it” (Descartes 1969:164)…
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Possible Solution to Descartes Mind-Body Problem
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Possible Solution to Descartes' Mind-Body Problem

Download file to see previous pages... The question that remains to be asked is – if ever the mind and the body can have an interaction, then how is it possible? Descartes answer to this question is – “I was unable to give any explanation” (Descartes 1969:162). Furthermore, he contended that that this rather hypothetical interaction between the mind and the body is merely an “arbitrary” one and something that cannot be proven by science. Nevertheless, contrary to what Descartes had thought, modern science proves that the interaction between the mind and the body is not arbitrary and is supported by evidence on the effects of medications on the mind and the body as well as the James-Lange theory of emotion. The interaction between the mind and the body is not arbitrary, as Descartes has claimed. TheFreeDictionary.com defines the word “arbitrary” as something “determined by chance, whim or impulse” or “subject to individual judgment or preference.” The interaction between the mind and the body, however, is not defined by chance or individual judgment but by definite cause and effect. ...
In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an overdose of painkillers known as opioids would normally cause drowsiness {“Prescription Medications” 2011). An overdose of amphetamines such as Adderall may also have emotional and mental effects as well as paranoia and anxiety (“Prescription Medications” 2011). These effects prove that the physical and physiological effects of drugs have corresponding effects on the mind. The same thing is true with non-prescription drugs. Cocaine, for one, causes severe anxiety, panic, paranoid delusions, delirium, sleeplessness, hallucinations and even acute psychosis if taken in large doses (“Overdose” 2011). In a similar way, heroin can cause delirium, while metamphetamine can cause both delirium and psychosis, and marijuana can cause psychosis, hallucinations, delusions and an inability to recognize one’s identity (“Overdose” 2011). These simply prove that the mind is subject to certain changes in the physical and physiological make-up of the body – just alter the body’s physiology and you alter the mind as well. Furthermore, since scientific experiments have established this information about these effects of drugs on the health, then one is apt to conclude that the interaction between the mind and the body is causal and not merely arbitrary. Another proof of the causal interaction between the mind and the body is the James-Lange theory of emotion. If we reduced the James-Lange theory to simple layman’s terms it would sound like, “We do not run because we feel afraid, we feel afraid because we run” (Gray 1987:53). This means that whatever is experienced by the body is eventually reacted to by the mind. According to the James-Lange theory of emotion, fear or any ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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