1. How does the dualist’s view of the mind and body imply that scientific, physical explanations of persons are incomplete? 2. How does Descartes’s dualism allow for deterministic explanations of nature while preserving human freedom?
3. How does Descartes’s dualism allow for a compromise between science and religion?
4. How does Descartes’s dualism serve to explain immortality?
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5. If you were a disciple of Descartes, how would you improve on his explanation of the interaction of the mind and body? 6. Artificial intelligence programs are now able to play superior chess and do many other tasks that duplicate what human intelligence can accomplish. What would be Descartes’s view of artificial intelligence programs? Would he agree that computers can think? Why?
7. In what ways is Chalmers in agreement with Descartes? In what ways do they seem to differ?
Examining The Strengths of Dualism
Q1. Descartes’s view allows him to accept the scientific account of the physical world while retaining traditional notions of the mind and human freedom. How important is this advantage?
Q2. Descartes’s view claims that the properties of matter could never produce something as mysterious and marvelous as consciousness or self-awareness, because these qualities could come only from a type of reality that is nonmaterial. Do you think Descartes’s theory explains consciousness better than any physicalist theory ever could?
1. Descartes had a major problem explaining how a nonspatial mind can influence a spatially located brain. Do you think Descartes’s account of where and how mind-body interaction takes place is satisfactory? If not, can you even conceive of another explanation that does not fall into the same problems?
2. If the mind is the seat of our mental life and consciousness whereas the body is simply a machine made out of flesh, as Descartes thought, why does physical damage to the brain have such a dramatic effect on a person’s mental life?
3. What happens to your mind when you are knocked unconscious or are given anesthesia? Both situations cause a disruption to the brain’s normal functioning. But if the mind is separate from the body, we would expect that in these situations we would continue to experience mental awareness even though the connections between the mind, the brain, and the body were temporarily impaired. If the real you is your mind, and your mind is identical to your conscious mental life, as Descartes maintains, then where does your mind (and you) go when you are unconscious?
1. Why is it not a good idea to have an all-night party before a big test? Why do the labels on cough and allergy medicines caution against driving or operating machinery while taking the medicine? Why do most people have trouble concentrating in class after they have had a big meal? What effects do multiple cups of coffee tend to have on a person’s mental state or temperament? Why do these sorts of changes in our bodies affect not only our physical performance but our mental performance as well?
2. Why do animals such as frogs or rabbits have relatively small brains, whereas highlevel mammals such as dogs, apes, and humans have larger and more complex brains? Why is there a correlation between the size and complexity of the brain and the level of intelligent behavior exhibited by a species?
3. You think to yourself, “I am thirsty.” You then decide to get a drink. Obediently, your hand reaches out to grab a glass of ice water. How did your thoughts produce this motion in the physical world? What sort of links in the causal chain run from your thoughts to your body’s muscles?
4. We know that our nervous system automatically governs such functions as our digestion and heartbeat apart from our conscious control of them. However, we like to think that our mental life is under our conscious control. But how do we explain the fact that images, thoughts, or unpleasant memories spontaneously intrude into our consciousness? Why is it that thinking about one idea often will cause another idea to spring up unexpectedly within our mind? How can the contents of our minds be affected by causes that we do not voluntarily control?
Can you please give solutions will step by step to all questions? these are related to philopshy
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