Answer to Question #198069 in Philosophy for lisa

Question #198069

Option A: Descartes’ argues for the sharp distinction between the mind and body where each holds distinct and contrasting properties. (a) What are the problems with this distinction? (b) Does Descartes manage to resolve them? - Make sure that your answer includes a description of the nature of these substances, of mind and bodies. - Ensure that your paper provides discussion of your opinion on whether you think Descartes solves this problem.

Expert's answer

René Descartes’ mind body theory creates a problem based on their distinction. It raises a question of how they relate despite being completely distinct. Another question is how they affect one another if at all they are distinct entities. 

Descartes’ first reponse to these problems was asserting that the problems came from the false assumption that since both aspects are of distinct characteristics then there is little or no chance in which they can interact. For instance, humans and vehicles are distint in terms of characteristics but they have a relationship in the sense that humans drive the cars and the cars inturn help humans arrive their destination. The problem was however not because they were different but on how they are supposed to interact which brings a contradiction. According to Descartes, the nature of the body is to be in space while it is the mind’s nature not to be in the space (Westphal, 2019). As such, if they were to interact, then what is not in space must act in space. His answer is somewhat insufficient for the mind body problem scope. His further clarification was on the function of the pineal gland, which acts as a medium for both entities. This however yet poses a problem considering that it occurs in the physical space where the mind is not. As such, I belive that Descartes did not offer a tentative solution to the problem 


Westphal, J. (2019, August 7). Descartes and the discovery of the mind-body problem. The MIT Press Reader.

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