Whilst all of
the theories looked at so far present different pictures of dualism,
they at least have one thing in common in that they treat mental
events as non-physical. In other words, they mental events exist
as a completely separate substance (Cartesianism, Occasionalism,
Parallelism and Platonism), a by-product of physical substance (Epiphenomenalism)
or the property of some other intermediate substance (Double Aspect
theory). As such, all of the above theories represent modifications
of Cartesian dualism. However, there remain other theories that,
whilst being dualistic, present a different view of the substances
or properties involved in the relation of mind and body.
An example of
such a theory is that of the philosopher E. J. Lowe who attempts
to show in what way a non-Cartesian dualism can exist. He does this
by redefining the nature of the mental, arguing that the concept
of an immaterial substance does not make sense (for traditional
reasons - problem of interaction, etc.).
understand the rest of the theory it is necessary to analyse the
concepts of "self" and "identity". Let us, for
instance, take the idea of a car. I may replace certain engine parts,
wheels, etc., and yet still say that it is the same car as it was.
The collection of parts that make up the car may have changed slightly,
but the car is still a car. On the other hand, if take all of the
original parts and make a completely different type of machine out
of it - such as a petrol-driven electricity generator - although
the parts are exactly the same, the car no longer exists. Therefore,
Lowe concludes, the thing that gives something its "identity"
or "self" is not collection of parts - or any one part
- of which it is made up.
When we relate
these ideas to the concept of an individual, we discover that similar
analogies can be drawn. A person is not the mere collection of limbs
and organs that constitute it, nor is it a single part - such as
the brain. Therefore, the person or self, although it is material
- in that it relies on the existence of a body - is not identical
subtle and ingenious form of dualism is quite a long way from that
of Descartes and Plato.
notion of self is not independent of the physical body and although
Lowe might call the self a material substance, it is only in as
much as it is another way of looking at the physical (i.e. there
is no special independent substance or material soul).
notion of dualism seems to deny the possibility of immortality or
existence of the self before or after birth - ideas that were so
important to Descartes and Plato.
theory seems to imply a form of determinism in that, since there
is no overriding centre of decision making - such as the mind or
the "I" - the material self is open to the same material
influences as any other material substance (and therefore arguably
determined by them). Lowe's counter-argument to this tries to show
that it is possible that the will is a complex interaction of social
and physical processes whereby no one cause is responsible for events.
So, because the self contains all of these "parts" - social,
physical, mental, emotional, etc. - decisions and actions are brought
about by the arrangement of these parts in a certain way (in the
same way that a spider's web allows the spider to move by both restricting
and facilitating its movements).