Arguments for Dualism

There are several arguments that support the claims of dualism. In particular, dualism is very popular among those who believe in the existence of a soul that is separate from one’s physical body.

The Subjective Argument

One of the more famous arguments supporting substance dualism is the subjective argument. This argues that mental events feature subjective qualities, while physical events do not. For a mental event, one can ask questions about what something looks, feels, or sounds like. However, those sensations cannot be reduced into a physical event. Even though you can see, touch, or hear physical events, when you are describing a sensation such as “what something feels like,” you cannot actually reduce it to something physical. It is still a sensation with subjective qualities.

The Special Sciences Argument

The special sciences argument supports the notion of predicate dualism. If predicate dualism is true, then “special sciences” must exist. These sciences should not be able to be reduced any further using the laws of physics. Because psychology, which cannot be further reduced by the laws of physics, exists as a form of science, this must imply that the mind exists. Even the science of meteorology proves the special science argument to be true, because studying weather patterns is only of interest to people, and therefore, this science presupposes that the mind cares and is interested in weather. Therefore, in order for the material world to be perceived mentally, there must be a perspective from the mind about the material world.

Argument from Reason

According to the argument from reason, if our thoughts are simply the result of physical causes, then there is no reason to believe that these thoughts are based on reason or are rational. A physical material is not rational, and yet we as humans have reason. Therefore, the mind must not simply be from a material source.