Cartesian Rationalism and Classical Empiricism – Mind-Body Dualism

Mind/body dualism is a concept that indorses the understanding that the mind and the body are two entirely distinct kinds of natures. Such understanding precisely implies that the difference between mind and body is not only pivoted on meaning terms but also in individual units (Crane &Patterson, 2001).As a result, a dualist often opposes any system or principle that attempts to create a linkage between the mind and the brain. Such linkages are often termed as physical mechanisms. In this way, dualism holds the idea that the mind is a nonphysical substance that is more if not closely related to consciousness and self-awareness.

In the elements of dualism, there exists substance dualism, in other words known asCartesian dualism. Originally defended by Rene Descartes, it supports the sub-theory of two kinds of underpinnings;mental and body. The two foundations exist independently. However, the mind cannot exist outside the body, and on the other end, it is impossible for the body to think (Audi, 1999). The explanation is a parent of many modern theologies that assert that immortal sols occupy a “realm” of survival that is independent from the physical world.

Unlike classical empiricism, Cartesian dualism distrusts sensory evidence owing to its attempt to interconnect the mind and the body (Audi, 1999). It rather holds that knowledge has coherency within the principles and their inferred declarations. It therefore means that knowledge is not much correspondent to experience and involvement. From such philosophies, then the birth of rational and deductive methods happens. As such, a man is familiar with their existence as a result of his thoughts.

Cartesian rationalism embraces the notion that the mind cannot be lowered into being swayed by the material world. It is because the mind has a capability of thinking objectively. Therefore, “mind” and “material” are the basic elements of the universe. Material’s definition is based on a defining characteristic that is distinctive to that of the mind. As such, the defining characteristic of the mind is the activity of thought while that of the material is the possession of dimension like space and time. As a result, we can make some deductions from these elucidations. No matter the imaginations and abstractions, the mind must think and for the material, its extension is not affected by how it augments (Audi, 1999).

With the idea that “matter or “material” is entirely independent of the “mind” then objectivity is possible. The small worlds; that of “man” and “other” are seen as objects leading to them becoming objects of study.

On an entirely atypical platform, that of mechanical science, classical empiricism seeks to pinpoint the foundations of starting any propositions. Historically, empiricists doubted the authenticity and absolute validity of Cartesian rationalism owing to its failure to provide causal evidence (Achinstein et al., 1969). Consequently, they described it as radically suspicious. They further went ahead to discredit rationalism owing to its incapability of proving itself and its incoherence. Classical empiricism therefore took a new turn of proposing to prove how ideas presented by science could be derived from sensation. Thus, the general philosophy here holds that nature’s description rests on observed evidence which can step by step be reduced to particular sensations. Unlike Cartesian rationalism, classical empiricism shows how minds contents enter the mind itself through involvement. At birth, the mind is considered a “blank slate” (tabula rasa) and for this reason, knowledge is only gained through involvement in operations (ideas of reflections).

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