Question was inspired by this user from Yahoo, thought I'd get some opinions on this on Think Atheist.

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Mentalism in psychology is slowly dying (I hope).  We can be far more efficient (and in my opinion effective) without referring to some construct in the mind that cannot be manipulated (because it's not a real actual tangible thing).


Exactly. It is sad that most still buy the mind/body dichotomy. There is absolutely no reason to think that there is a separate wispy phantom world that doesn't abide by the laws of science/nature. There is every reason to believe that we just do not understand the depth and wonder of our physical world.

The mind and the brain are one and the same thing. It is that simple. Being aware that we can be aware of the fact that we are thinking is just a thought in itself. If I “watch” a stream of consciousness – a movie of my thoughts – I (me – my brain) am observing something that my brain is creating at the same time as I watch it. That may give a sense of dualism i.e. my brain (being separate) is watching something my mind is creating. So it is understandable that in the past when we did not have the science to understand the brain as we do now that we would accept that the mind and brain were separate to each other. Religions tend not to accept this “oneness” as dualism links in with the idea of spirituality and the existence of the soul.

Once our thoughts are no longer discoloured by religion we can reach an understanding with ourselves that – as Nelson says – the debate is over – and then we can reach a greater clarity of thought – or maybe not……………:)

It is so wonderful to see so many like-minded people. Despite its thorough debunking, dualism still rears it's primitive head again and again. I think that most people still listen to it's siren call. It's intellectual laziness and denial. It would be nice to believe in a happy phantom world with no physical laws and eternal life. Sadly, this illusion has hampered mankind throughout the last few centuries.

Well, I wouldn't necessarily go that far.

It seems to me that it is intellectual laziness to accept monism on its face, without giving it a rigourous beating to make sure we are right, which is what I am trying to do. I haven't made any decision but I still want to ask questions about it. It doesn't solve everything wholly satisfactorily to me. And dualism doesn't mean eternal life either.

How does a monist explain free will?

There's also the fact that dualism comes from an illusion that there is some coherent "self" and a seat of that "self" tending to be either seated in the brain or "heart" as well as the related idea that a person is the same person from one moment to the next, but we are not. 

These tend to give us the notion that something more than physical is going on, and that our ideas and thoughts are of an essential or ethereal nature. In the end, the person who believes in any form of dualism is more than likely placing cause somewhere it doesn't belong.

You can't say Descartes is wrong without undermining your entire reality.

"I think, therefore I am." If you cannot even be sure if this is right, or an illusion, how can you trust your other senses? What if the whole world were an illusion?

I'm with Nelson on this one - all available evidence is strongly against dualism.  It is also a fairly dead issue from a philosophical standpoint.  If my 'mind' is something apart from me, but the only 'me' I know exists here in this reality, formed completely by my experiences in this realm - then that other 'mind' is not 'me', and the 'me' that I know still ceases to exist when 'I' die.  Essentially a separate mind would only be another entity that would remember 'me' after I die.  It would be nice to be remembered, although I will have no knowledge of it.

Wasn't Alexander Hamilton killed in an act of dualism..?... Um,oh, wait, nevermind.   ;) 

Rimshot, Rob!

It's interesting that believers in dualism rarely remember or even wonder where their soul/spirit was before their body existed (unless they also believe in reincarnation).


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