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Dualism

DUALISM.

Dualism is a doctrine positing two equally powerful and antagonistic metaphysical principles, which are constitutive of the world and must explain our experience of the world. They are often conceived as dichotomies, such as good and evil, light and darkness, attraction and repulsion, or love and strife.

In religion, perhaps the most important early doctrine was Zoroastrianism (Persia, today's Iran, sixth century b.c.e.). Zoroaster (c. 628c. 551 b.c.e.) himself is thought to have only authored the Gathas, the earliest part of the Avesta, the sacred texts of Zoroastrianism. In Zoroastrianism, the world is the outcome of the struggle between Ormuzd, the author of good, and Ahriman, the principle of darkness and evil. For Zoroaster, the divinities of the Persian pantheon were servants of Ahriman. Man is a creation of Ormuzd, who created him to be free in his actions, and so open to the influences of evil. Man will be rewarded or punished in the afterlife for his choices. Ultimately, a final battle will be won by Ormuzd against evil.

Manes (Mani; 216276 or 277 c.e.) developed a form of Gnosticism, subsequently called Manichaeism, which sought to fuse elements from Christianity with the dualism of Zoroastrianism. Manichaeism spread east as far as northern India and western China and west as far as France and Spain. In Manes's system, the Father of Light and his aeons, the good, are opposed by the King of Darkness, who tried to invade the former's kingdom. From this strife both the world and humans were born. Humans have seeds of light in their soul, and Jesus was sent to bring the knowledge necessary to free the light from darkness. Ultimately, darkness will be conquered. Although Manichaeism sought to include Christianity, or because it did, it was actively fought by the Christian establishment, especially St. Augustine of Hippo (354430), who was a Manichaean in his youth. Later Christian dualistic heresies, thought to be derived from Manichaeism, include the Paulicians (Armenia, Albania, seventheighth century), the Bogomils (Bulgaria, tenth century) and the Cathars (Albigensians; southern France, twelfth and thirteenth centuries).

The Sankhya school is the most consistent example of Indian dualism. Founded by the legendary Kapila around the seventh century b.c.e., its earliest known text is Isvarakrsna's Samkhya-karikas (Stanzas of Samkhya, presumably written in the third century c.e.). The Samkhya school proffered a dualism of matter (prakriti) and soul or self (purushas). The two are originally separate; however, purusha, from being pure unqualified consciousness comes close to, and identifies itself with, aspects of matter as its object. Individualized, ego-based ahankara divides itself into the five senses, thus immersing purusha in the world of matter. Right knowledge consists of the ability of soul to rise above the ego and individuation and regain its distinction from matter. Samkhya ideas are mentioned in the earlier Mahabharata (one of the most famous Sanskrit texts, composed in a number of years; it reached its present version by 400 c.e.).

Earlier forms of dualism can be traced in ancient Egyptian religion, with the contest between Seth, disorder and sterility, and Osiris, fertility and life, that manifests itself in a cycle of murder and resurrection. Forms of dualism can be found in mythologies around the world, such as Native American myths (Chippewa, Navajo, Blackfeet), or Australian tribes. In such mythologies, ambivalent figures (such as the Native American coyote myths, the Bamapana of the Australian Murnging tribe, and the Melanesian spider-god Marawa) can be present such as a demiurge or "trickster," who can either cooperate or rival the main deity and is often conceived as independent of him.

Metaphysical dualism is a philosophical system positing two basic nonreducible substances, typically matter (or body) and spirit (or soul). Among the early Greeks, (the pre-Socratics) Anaximander (610c. 647 b.c.e.) and, later, Heracleitus (c. 540c. 480 b.c.e.), Empedocles (c. 490c. 430 b.c.e.), and Anaxagoras (c. 500c. 428 b.c.e.) all held doctrines of opposed natural substances, where the interplay of opposites is part of the developed world. Pythagoreanism, believed to have been founded by Pythagoras of Samos (c. 580c. 500 b.c.e.), focused on opposing dyads such as one/two, male/female, and so forth. Plato's (c. 428348 or 347 b.c.e.) metaphysics divides the world into two realms: the unchanging intelligible world of "forms" and the perceptual world of change. Human sense experience is of material things that are imperfect copies or likenesses that "participate" in the unchangeable and perfect forms (Ideas). Plato's Republic and Timeus give mythical accounts of the relationship between things and forms.

There is no true dualism in the Judeo-Christian tradition, though a subordinate metaphysical distinction is posed between God and created substances, and, derivatively, between soul and matter. God is uncreated, all-powerful, all-good, and infinite. Everything else is created and utterly dependent. Among created substances, soul or mind is not reducible to matter. Satan or the devil, while not as powerful as God, seems to have a power that God cannot control. Herein lie theological worries such as the problem of evil. This framework characterizes the Christian philosophy, especially high medieval Scholastic tradition such as St. Thomas Aquinas (c. 12241274), who attempted to reconcile Christianity with Aristotelian and neo-Platonic theories. With a very few exceptions (such as the thirteenth-century philosopher David of Dinant), dualism of created substances remained unchallenged until the revival of atomism, and the successes of the new science and mechanical philosophy in the seventeenth century (Galileo Galilei, Robert Boyle).

Most often, dualism is used to refer to Cartesian mind/body dualism. René Descartes (15961650), in his Meditations on First Philosophy (1641) and Discourse on Method (1637) developed a method, based on clear and distinct ideas, that he thought proved that thinking things were distinct from extended, inert material things. The exemplar of a clear and distinct idea was his "I think, therefore I am." Descartes struggled with the problem of how matter and mind, being different substances, could causally interact Reactions to Cartesian dualism, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, stressed the incoherence of causal connections between two different kinds of substance, and took the forms of idealism (George Berkeley, 16851753) or materialism (Julien Offroy de La Mettrie, 17091751) wherein dualism was eschewed in favor or a world composed only of ideas (spirit) or matter.

During the late nineteenth century an epistemological form of dualism arose, from Descartes's influence, that distinguished knowledge of the human sciences from the natural sciences. Wilhelm Dilthey (18331911) argued for a noncausal human science that would use a method of verstehen or interpretation of particular events as distinct from the causal inquiry of the natural sciences, and Edmund Husserl (18591938) began the school of phenomenology, wherein human science was based on introspections of one's own consciousness, made while bracketing the physical world.

Challenges to Dualism

In postmodern times (after 1968), Jacques Derrida (b. 1930) developed deconstruction. Derrida believes that Western thought was centered on binary hierarchical oppositions (dualisms). Examples were male and female, mind and body, nature and culture, object and subject, and so forth. Critical analysis should expose the dualistic assumptions that are taken as "given," and show the polarity itself to be a "construct," rather than something existing independently. To Derrida and his postmodern followers must be added the challenge from feminist epistemology and philosophy of science. Interestingly the male/female polarity had been "deconstructed" well before Derrida, in Simone de Beauvoir's (19081986) The Second Sex, where she wrote, "Thus humanity is male and man defines woman not in herself but as relative to him; she is not regarded as an autonomous being She is defined and differentiated with reference to man and not he with reference to her; she is the incidental, the inessential as opposed to the essential. He is the Subject, he is the Absoluteshe is the Other."

See also Heresy and Apostasy ; Manichaeism ; Monism ; Other, The, European Views of .

bibliography

Block, Ned, Güven Güzeldere, and Owen Flanagan, eds. The Nature of Consciousness: Philosophical Debates. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1997.

de Beauvoir, Simone. The Second Sex. Translated and edited by H. M. Parshley. New York: Knopf, 1953.

Guttenplan, Samuel, ed. A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

Hamilton, Janet, and Bernard Hamilton, trans. and ann. Christian Dualist Heresies in the Byzantine World, c. 650c. 1450: Selected Sources. Assistance with the translation of Old Slavonic texts by Yuri Stoyanov. Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press, 1998.

Lycan, William G., ed. Mind and Cognition: An Anthology. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1999.

Peter Machamer

Francesca di Poppa

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Dualism

Dualism


This term dualism is used to describe any system in which there are two realities. The term is sometimes used to express the existence of two gods or the existence of God and the cosmos, but its most common usage is in the philosophy of human nature. A dualist holds that a human person is constituted by a body and what may be called a mind or soul or consciousness. Some dualists hold that persons are nonphysical concrete subjects who are embodied contingently. That is, a person may survive the destruction of his or her body, or one's body may continue to exist (as a corpse) after one has ceased to be. The greatest competing philosophy of human nature is materialism. While representatives of dualism in contemporary philosophy are in the minority, dualism is not easily uprooted philosophically, religiously, or culturally.

On the philosophical front, materialists often have difficulty capturing the evident existence of consciousness or felt experiences. Human thinking, sensing, and feeling appear to be different in kind from brain processes and other bodily activity. At a minimum, there is a profound causal relation between the two (one's thinking is contingent on neurological events), and yet a causal relation is not the same thing as identity. The mental and physical may be causally interdependent without being identical. Since 1980, a range of philosophers who are materialists either in their convictions or inclinations (e.g., Thomas Nagel, Colin McGinn, Jaegwon Kim, and John Pollock), have insisted that there are serious problems with identifying consciousness with physical states and processes.

A shift in contemporary science has also bolstered the case for dualism. So long as a strictly deterministic physical science dominated the view of nature, it appeared that something nonphysical (states of consciousness or the soul) would have no causal role in explaining events in the world. This would render a dualist account of action absurd. But quantum mechanics has advanced an indeterminist view of the cosmos, and it is more difficult to rule out dualism.

From a religious point of view, dualism is in play with most but not all traditions that acknowledge an afterlife. Some religions believe in a resurrection of the dead in which a person survives death by their material body being either reconstituted or re-created. But even these religions often preserve some immaterial locus or referent to secure a person's identity; in between physical death and resurrection a person might still be thought of as present to God. Virtually all religions that include a belief in reincarnation allow that there is some immaterial aspect to a person's or a soul's identity. If persons are identical with their bodies, then what happens to persons and bodies are the very same; dualism allows persons and souls to share a different fate from their bodies.

Dualism also receives some support from cultures that routinely adopt different methods for studying and talking about persons as opposed to studying and talking about their bodies. Consider a modest example in English: It can make sense to say that someone is in class but that his or her mind is far away.

History of the concept

Historically, the ancient Greek philosopher Plato (428347 b.c.e.) was a key advocate of a form of dualism. Dualism is integral to his case for the immortality of the soul, as expressed in the Phaedrus, Phaedo, and Republic. Plato posited not just a postmortem existence but life before material embodiment (prenatal existence). Plato thought of a person's material embodiment as good but also as something that impedes the soul's longing for the good, the true, and the beautiful. Compared with the beauty and glory of disembodied life, material existence can be like a prison. The early Christian leader Augustine of Hippo (354430 c.e.) developed a Platonic form of Christianity, rejecting some of Plato's beliefs (Augustine rejected pre-natal existence, as well as Plato's view of the divine as a finite reality) but preserving his dualism and the centrality of the good.

Some Platonic Christians in the medieval period speculated that God creates a host of various forms of intelligence in either embodied or disembodied form. This formed part of the principle of plentitude in medieval thought. The philosopher Thomas Aquinas (12251274) preserved much of the Platonic, Augustinian tradition but he more firmly insisted that human beings are comprised of matter and form. He still allowed that a person's soul persists after death, so Aquinas's reservations about radical dualism were limited.

Modern philosophy in Europe focussed on three philosophies of human nature. Dualism was championed by René Descartes (15961650); Cartesian dualism was advanced based on the conceivability of the self without the body. Thomas Hobbes (15881679) was very much on the other side. According to Hobbes, only matter exists and the very notion of there being something immaterial was nonsense. Hobbes insisted that even God is a material reality. A third position was championed by George Berkeley (16851753) who held that matter was not a fundamental, mind-independent reality. The cosmos is made up of minds and their sensory experiences. Berkeley's thesis that only minds and their states and activities exist is called idealism. In the eighteenth century it was possible to see dualism as a mediating, moderate choice between the extremes of materialism and idealism.

Many contemporary Christian theologians see dualism as part of an undesirable body-hatred; dualism is accused of foisting on people an excessively fragmented view of embodiment. Moreover, dualism is thought to reflect a vain attempt by humans to distinguish themselves from the rest of creation. These objections all seem answerable. There is no necessity for dualists to see embodiment in negative terms. And while a person's psychological and physical life can be fragmented, there is no need for dualism to regard human embodiment as always laden with bifurcation. Dualists may see the embodied person as a functional unity. As for the question of human pride, Descartes famously denied nonhuman animals were like humans in possessing (or being) minds. Descartes read nature in mechanical terms while he tried to secure an exception for human life. But most contemporary dualists see the emergence of consciousness as something involving nonhuman animal life; people share with some nonhumans in having experiences and possessing psychological abilities. Dualists tend to see the emergence of consciousness as something that prevails throughout the animal world and not something limited exclusively to human beings.

See also Augustine; Embodiment; Materialism; Mind-body Theories; Mind-brain Interaction; Monism; Plato; Thomas Aquinas

Bibliography

cooper, john. body, soul and life everlasting: biblical anthropology and the monism-dualism debate. grand rapids, mich.: eerdmans, 1989.

foster, john. the immaterial self: a defence of the cartesian dualist conception of the mind. london: routledge, 1991.

hart, w. d. the engines of the soul. cambridge, uk: cambridge university press, 1988.

hasker, william. the emergent self. ithaca, n.y.: cornell university press, 2000.

lovejoy, arthur o. the great chain of being: a study of the history of an idea (1936). cambridge, mass.: harvard university press, 1970.

nagel, thomas. "what is it like to be a bat?" philosophical review 83 (1974): 435450.


smythies, john r., and beloff, john, eds. the case for dualism. charlottesville: university of virginia press, 1989.

swinburne, richard. the evolution of the soul. oxford: oxford university press, 1986.

taliaferro, charles. consciousness and the mind of god. cambridge, uk: cambridge university press, 1994.


charles taliaferro

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Dualism

DUALISM

In the history of religion, dualism refers to the eighteenth-century doctrines that see God and the devil as two first principles, irreducible and coeternal. Christian Wolff (1734/1968) classified dogmatic philosophies into dualistic systems, which separated the soul from the body as distinct substances, and monistic systems, both groups being distinct from skepticism. In anthropology, epistemology, and ethics, a theory is dualistic when two irreducible principles can serve as a foundation for the theory.

From "A case of successful treatment by hypnotism" (1892-1893) to his last works, Sigmund Freud envisioned mental processes as resulting from underlying conflicts, fed by opposing forces: "Psychoanalysis early became aware that all mental occurrences must be regarded as built on the basis of an interplay of the forces of the elementary instincts" (1923a). In the first topographic subsystem, these forces arise from the sexual instincts in conflict with the ego, or self-preservation, instincts. Later Freud (1914c) said that they arise from the object libido in conflict with the ego libido, as well as from the pressure of the drives. In the second topographic subsystem (after 1920), they arise from the life and death drives. These forces structure the form and dynamics of the mental processes.

Although Freud emphasized the existence of two types of drives in his dualistic approach, he avoids the word "dualism." Originating in the body, effecting the association of body and mind, and causing physical changes (conversion) or other types of modifications (other defenses), the drives create a dualistic dynamic, though this is not sufficient for saying that psychoanalytic theory is dualistic.

As Freud's research evolved, the essential polarities and the role of instinctual dualism changed as well. When studying the transference neuroses, Freud postulated an "opposition between the 'sexual impulses' directed toward the object and other impulses that we can only identify imperfectly and temporarily designate with the name 'ego instincts' " Freud noted the concordance with the opposition between hunger and love. He added, "In the forefront of these instincts, we must recognize the instincts that serve for the preservation of the individual" (1920g). In the first topographic subsystem, these forces arising from instincts were like vectors applied to quasi points (unconscious representations). In this way they resembled the structures of classical physics (Freud, 1899a).

Freud's introduction, between 1911 and 1915, of narcissism, of the ego as agency, of transference (rather than phenomenological transfer), and of a series of correlative terms of considerable scope shows his dissatisfaction with the former dynamic system. Freud then insisted that antagonistic forces account for morphogenesis, stabilization, and the evolution (in modern terms, structural stability) of large irreducible structures such as the ego, the ego ideal, and certain identifications.

After a period of confusion when Freud replaced the dynamics of conflict with the opposition between object libido and ego, together with the pressure of the drive, Freud proposed the dualism of the life and death drives. A chiasma was introduced, since the sex drive, a disturbing toxic force in the first topographic subsystem, was now integrated in the life drive (germen ), while the ego instincts (soma ) were partially integrated in the death drive. The difficulty that this chiasma creates can be resolved by assuming that the new dualism, which is more comprehensive, resolves conflicts between tendencies with different degrees of stability. The ego affects its own immediate stability by conflicting with the expression of sexuality, which forces the ego to change. The sexual drive is directed, in the last instance, at the long-term structural stability of the species.

Drive dualism correlates with a number of conflicts. These include the polarities of mental life: the economic polarity of pleasure and unpleasure, the reality polarities of the ego and the outside world, the biological polarities of activity and passivity. This last pair introduces the polarities around which the contrasts between the sexes develop: active/passive, phallic/nonphallic, masculine/feminine. In ambivalence there is movement between love and hate, and ultimately between the life and death drives; or between the pleasure principle and the reality (formerly constancy) principle, and ultimately between the life and death drives.

The dualism of the life and death drives has often been rejected or poorly understood. It has been interpreted in an exclusively realist sense (Melanie Klein and the Paris school of psychosomatics) even though there was also a theoretical component. The repetition compulsion and death drive have been unilaterally interpreted as nondynamic structural formalisms. Freud's requirements for drive theory involve dynamically accounting for the simple stability that repetition implies (for example, in symptoms) while taking into account the structural stability (always deviating in the same way) that the majority of mental structures implement. "But," according to Freud (1920g), "in no region of psychology were we groping more in the dark [than in the case of the drives]." Only Gustav Fechner and his hypotheses of stability were of use to Freud. Contemporary dynamicists provide more refined instruments for plumbing the depths of Freudian drive dualism while respecting its preconditions.

MichÈle Porte

See also: Ambivalence; Beyond the Pleasure Principle ; Demand; Destrudo; Ego-instinct; Fusion/defusion of instincts; Libido; Life instinct (Eros); Monism; Psychology of Women. The, A Psychoanalytic Interpretation, The ; Psychosomatic limit/boundary.

Bibliography

Freud, Sigmund. (1892-1893). A case of successful treatment by hypnotism. SE, 1: 115-128.

. (1899a). Screen memories. SE, 3: 299-322.

. (1914c). On narcissism: an introduction. SE, 14: 67-102.

. (1920g). Beyond the pleasure principle. SE, 18: 1-64.

. (1923). The libido theory. SE, 18: 255-259.

Laplanche, Jean. (1970). Vie et mort en psychanalyse. Paris: Flammarion.

Wolff, Christian. (1968). Psychologia rationalis. Hildesheim, Germany: Olms. (Originally published 1734)

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dualism

du·al·ism / ˈd(y)oōəˌlizəm/ • n. 1. the division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided: a dualism between man and nature. ∎  Philos. a theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles, esp. mind and matter (Cartesian dualism). Compare with idealism, materialism, and monism. ∎  the religious doctrine that the universe contains opposed powers of good and evil, esp. seen as balanced equals. ∎  in Christian theology, the heresy that in the incarnate Christ there were two coexisting persons, human and divine. 2. the quality or condition of being dual; duality. DERIVATIVES: du·al·ist n. & adj. du·al·is·tic / ˌd(y)oōəˈlistik/ adj. du·al·is·ti·cal·ly / ˌd(y)oōəˈlistik(ə)lē/ adv.

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dualism

dualism, any philosophical system that seeks to explain all phenomena in terms of two distinct and irreducible principles. It is opposed to monism and pluralism. In Plato's philosophy there is an ultimate dualism of being and becoming, of ideas and matter. Aristotle criticized Plato's doctrine of the transcendence of ideas, but he was unable to escape the dualism of form and matter, and in modern metaphysics this dualism has been a persistent concept. In modern philosophy dualism takes many forms. Thus in Immanuel Kant there is an ontological dualism between the phenomenal and noumenal worlds and an epistemological dualism between the passivity of sensation and the spontaneity of the understanding. In psychology occasionalism and interactionism both assumed a dualism of mind and matter. The term also has a theological application, e.g., Manichaeism explained evil in the world as resulting from an ultimate evil principle, coeternal with good. See also monism and pluralism.

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dualism

dualism Any theory that identifies an irreducible distinction between two classes of thing. Those of most interest to sociologists are ethical dualism, which states an irreducible difference between statements of fact and value-judgements; explanatory dualism, which holds that while natural events have causes, human actions can only be explained by reference to motives or reasons; the doctrine that mind and matter exist as independent entities; and the idea of the religious and the secular being parallel and independent spheres of life, governed by different laws. See also DESCARTES, RENÉ.

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Dualism

Dualism (Lat., dualis). The conjunction of two (usually opposing) entities or principles. The term was used by T. Hyde in 1700 (The Ancient Persian Religions) to describe the conflict between good and evil (Ormazd and Ahriman) in Zoroastrianism; but it is used of many religious and philosophical dualities, e.g. mind and matter (as in Cartesian dualism), material and spiritual (as in Manichaeism), yin and yang.

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dualism

dualism Doctrine in philosophy and metaphysics that recognizes two basic and mutually independent principles, such as mind and matter, body and soul, or good and evil. Dualism contrasts with monism. Both Plato and Descartes were dualists, but more modern philosophers, influenced by the discoveries of science, have tended towards monism.

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