The Dualism Theory and Mind-Body Distinction

The question of the study of human reality is essential for gaining the most straightforward and most detailed understanding of the interaction between the body and mind. Thus, this argumentative essay adheres to the opinion that the dualism theory developed by René Descartes is an effective tool in realizing the connection between the human body and mind. Therefore, this paper will justify this approach’s productivity and provide an alternative opinion developed by Charles Darwin, an adherent of monism.

This paper will argue that Descartes’s dualism provides a more parsimonious explanation of reality than Darwinian monism. The need for research on this topic is that the issue of mind and body relations is a fairly complex topic. Descartes became the founder of the theory of dualism, which implies that “the nature of the mind (that is, a thinking, non-extended thing) is completely different from that of the body (that is, an extended, non-thinking thing), and therefore it is possible for one to exist without the other” (“René Descartes: The mind-body distinction,” n.d., para. 1). Moreover, the philosopher distinguished these indicators as mind and matter. The first refers to a non-physical part of the human body, and the second aspect implies a physical structure that is characterized by the presence of feelings and sensations.

Thus, the mind of people is an immaterial component and can cause specific mental experiences. Thus, for example, it can make a person’s hand move or take an object. Matter, in turn, is responsible for feeling the texture of an object or the smell that comes from it. It is worth emphasizing that these circumstances show that the mind has the ability to think and can exist outside the body. This contributes to the formation of an argument about the correctness and effectiveness of the concept of dualism proposed by the philosopher.

Furthermore, Descartes draws an analogy that the human mind influences the body’s functioning. However, it can also affect the mental state of individuals, for example, in cases of passion or anger reaction (“René Descartes: The mind-body distinction,” n.d.). Descartes determines that the brain and mind-body are both different components and not the same thing. Consequently, the theory developed by the philosopher determines that the interaction of mind and matter contributes to the formation of the human being.

The opposite point of view, which is worth considering in the framework of this work, is monism, which Charles Darwin adhered to. Thus, the main opposition of these researchers is the difference in consideration of animals’ psychological and physical components. Hence, Descartes believed that the mind is the only dualistic creature and not the animal. Darwin, in turn, adhered to the observatory views that they develop over time and form more developed individuals, having a common ancestor. However, this paper is of the opinion that the theory of dualism is superior to Darwin’s monism and provides a more valuable insight into the reality of human existence.

In conclusion, Descartes’ dualism theory better meets the criterion than Darwin’s opposing position, as it provides a more expanded and parsimonious view of the nature of human reality. Therefore, it concentrates on the fact that this aspect includes concepts such as mind and matter, which can influence each other. Henceforth, the first can force the human body to perform certain actions, and the second is responsible for the perception and sensation of the world. Moreover, it emphasizes that the functions of these entities are entirely different, which allows them to exist separately.


René Descartes: The mind-body distinction. (n.d.). Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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