Monday, April 11, 2016

The Penguins and Dualism

From guest blogger, Daniel.

An interesting point was brought up in class that everyone believes that there are not 50 penguins in the room for the obvious reason that our senses clearly showed us that there were not 50 penguins in the room. However, no one specifically thought this upon entering the room. It didn’t cross their minds. According to the divisibility argument for dualism it would seem that while the body can be divided, the mind cannot. That is to say that I can leave my thumb at home, or any other part of my body which is divisible, but I cannot leave parts of my mind in different places. It is interesting then to look at the penguin example and how it seems we cannot subtract from the mind but we can add to it. There are an infinite number of things that could replace the 50 penguins, say 100 horses, 3,000 shoes, one-million hamsters etc. that could have been brought up and become part of our active thoughts. So even though there were not 50 penguins in the room none of us thought of this because it was not poignant at the time, and thinking about the infinite amount of possibilities that could have been in the room would have been impossible. This might be an interesting foothold in the argument against dualism, or at least that the mind isn’t divisible. While it may be true that we cannot leave something we are actively thinking in one spatial plane and another thing we are actively thinking in another it does seem that the mind can indeed be prompted to think about what it would not have otherwise by things pointed out to it in the spatial dimension. There is an interesting argument here that while the mind is not divisible in any given moment it is divided in the fourth-dimension by potential additions that simply have not been added yet. Looking through the divisibility argument for dualism through a four-dimensionalist’s eyes it is clear that the mind is in fact divided, split, added to etc. throughout its existence.

No comments: