A philosophical archive for the constructive study of substance dualism: www.newdualism.org.


Introduction

Among contemporary analytic philosophers of mind, cognitive scientists, and neurophysiologists, physicalism is all the rage.  For the past thirty years, physicalism the view that everything there is, including human minds, is ultimately and exclusively composed of physical constituents   has been (and continues to be) the dominant paradigm in discussions of what Schopenhauer purportedly described as a "world-knot" (Weltknoten), the so-called "mind-body problem."  But is physicalism true? 

Historically, the mind-body problem represents Descartes' legacy.  How can two fundamentally different substances (i.e., mind and body) causally interact? Or is there another way, apart from Descartes, of conceiving of the dualism of mind and body?

This is a website devoted to the new study of different kinds of ontological dualism, in particular non-Cartesian dualism.

For some definitions of dualism, see the Definitions page.

At this site, dualism will be taken as the theory that two kinds (at least) of:
      spacetime, events, particles, waves, fields, energies, minds, soul, spirit, divinity
have their own distinguishable substantial and enduring existence: their own ontology.
Generalised dualism (also called pluralism) is of particular interest, when more than two of the above have their own existence.

Here we do not mean necessarily independent existence, because many of the above list are clearly interrelated! Look, for example, at the interrelations between blue and green in the 'new dualism' logo at the top of the page. Blue and green are intertwined and contiguous at all scales. Similarly, a complete theory of dualism may well show how the dual substances are intertwined and contiguous at many levels.

The new aspect of new non-Cartesian dualism is the need to relate the dual substances in functional connections, as part of the science and philosophy of the whole: the whole nature, organism, person or world may have constituent dualities, but its parts are certainly not always disconnected!

By referring to distinguishable ontologies, we here do not refer to property dualism, whereby a single object or substance may have dual sets of properties not reducible to each other.
Similarly, we do not refer to the dualism of form and object, or information and matter, since we have known since Aristotle that forms are always forms of some object: distinguishable in our minds but never in reality.

This investigation will necesarily involve contributions from within physics, as well as input from psychology, spiritual psychology and theology. We want to invoke all the best knowledge of processes and structures from these disciplines, while avoiding reductionist tendencies to monisms.

Why? ... more ...

I.J. Thompson  10,17  Jan 04


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