- What are Descartes’ arguments for Cartesian dualism? Do you find them persuasive? If you do not, do you endorse monism, or not? Explain your answer.
In the dualism, Descartes attempts to solve the problem of mind and body. Descartes contrast the mind and the body that the two exist separately. He believes that human beings have two properties, the physical and the mental properties (Stanford encyclopedias of philosophy, all). The physical properties are those that can be attributed to the physical sciences. For examples, size, height and weight, color, shape, and motion in space, among others. On the same note, there are the mental properties that humans do not have physical attributes and cannot be attributed to physical aspects. For example, consciousness-perceptions, experiences, etc., intentions-desires, beliefs, etc. that are all possessed by the self.
The physical attributes of humans are public in that by principle, anyone can observe them while others are not directly public, but available to all with the use of the relevant equipments. The mental properties are private to the individual and can only be accessed by the self privately. In Descartes arguments, every physical thing occupies space and cannot share it with another and can be divided into its components while the beliefs, emotions do not occupy spaces, cannot be divided, and hence cannot be divided in into components. Therefore, the mind and the body can be viewed as fully separate aspects.
The dualism principle is correct on a hypothetical sense. It is possible they by all characteristics, the mind and the body are not the same. However, there is no possibility that each can exists exclusive of the other. For this reason, therefore, the argument ceases to be valid until one can detach the two and proof that they can exist on their own. Monism is logical since all these aspects can only make sense if addressed in unison. There cannot be the mind without the body, thought without the mind, beliefs without the mind. Since the body must carry the brain, then the mental processes must all the time be attached to the body.
- If one accepts Hume’s account of the degree to which we have knowledge of causation, is science possible? Explain your view fully.
Accordion to Hume, the belief and the relationship of thing as having a causes and effects is hypothetical. Hume asserts that there are no observable causation particles that any science can establish. If one see and event X occurring and arguing that it leads to event Y, the belief that event Y results from events X is not true since one cannot observe the causation itself. How can one explain the relationship between these two? One can either use probabilistic reasoning or the demonstrative reasoning. Both methods of explanation cannot be fully used to explain the cause since the inductive reasoning relies on observations. Humans are limited to what they observe immediately. Demonstrative reasoning on the other hand is mainly imaginative without analyzing the actual cause (“Hume, An enquiry concerning human understanding,” 2). Is science then possibly the face of Hume’s arguments?
- What is the distinction between a hypothetical imperative and a categorical imperative? How is this relevant to Kantian moral theory?
A hypothetical imperative is based on desires that one may have. It is the willed inclinations of one’s actions. On the other hand, categorical imperative is based on purely reasoning. Categorical imperative detaches itself completely from the emotions or desires than one has. Categorical imperative therefore, emphasizes on the objectivity of the actions without a relation to further end (“Consequentialism, nonconsequentialsm, and anti-consequentialism,” 2). Kant differentiates the categorical imperative and the hypothetical imperative that, hypothetical imperative has conditions in that one has to do X so that Y occurs since they are based on emotions with pre-set goals. The hypothetical imperatives are not universal and cannot be absolute.
Kant opines that one ought to act only if the action leads to a general and universal law. In this case, if the actions do not lead to derivation of a universal law, then, the actions are immoral. Using this premise, it is clear that the actor has to analyze all the actions before preforming them to determine whether they can yield to a universal law. Any other action that does not, then it is immoral. There exists a contradiction in that some cases it seems impossible for action to lead to universal law. For example, the maxim in suicide cannot lead to universal laws. The free will tends to hinder the objectivity of the universal laws. Free will cannot be separated from the desires of the actor. Due to this, the actor remains subjectively in the way he or she acts. Such may compromise the derivation of the universal laws. Humans are selfish and do only what benefits them. Whether it is leads to a universal law or not may not necessary be a consideration.
- How is the methodological approach of existentialism similar to that of Marxist philosophy? Explain your answer
Existentialism and Marxism have been discussed for long time. They tend to differ on various principles, but there are various similarities between the two especially on the methodology and kind of evidence used throughout. On science and reality, Marxism proposes that the universe is lawful while the existentialism holds that the universe is irrational. What the two are talking about is the fact that the world has no rational order that is definite. For this reason, one has to find the true meaning of existence in the universe by carefully analyzing various aspects.
All the questions been handled in both existentialism and Marxism are similar in that they attempt to answer the question on the way humans acts or live. They tend to analyze the organizations of the society in relation to the universe. They both talk of the irrationality of the human existence with each offering a counter argument of the other. The absurdity of human existence is full of absurdity. Even when the philosophers diverge in their ideas, there contradiction on nature is based on a logical approach to basic assumptions and evidence.
Both existentialism and Marxism derives their conclusion from a careful reasoning that is logically arranged. The methods are similar and undoubted scientific inquiries. It is worth noting that both do not shy away from considering what the opinion of the others might be. It is based on this reason that they tend to counter each other in their arguments. The two approaches tend to explain how things occur and although have different opinions on science and other aspects, the basic question and the presentations of arguments are similar (George Novack, all).
George Novack. Marxism Versus Existentialism. Accessed from https://www.marxists.org/archive/novack/works/history/ch12.htm on December 14, 2014.
Stanford encyclopedias of philosophy. Dualism. 2011. Accessed from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/dualism/ on December 14, 2014.
Hume, An enquiry concerning human understanding. Accessed from https://files.nyu.edu/mjr318/public/btk08/BTK%2012%20-%20Hume.pdf on December 14, 2014.
Consequentialism, nonconsequentialsm, and anti-consequentialism. Accessed from http://faculty.washington.edu/wtalbott/phil440/trkantianism.htm on December 14, 2014.