Is It Reasonable to Be an Interactive Substance Dualist in Light of Arguments From Neuroscience and Philosophy?


Physics, biology, and neuroscience have grown to describe the world with astounding success. As philosopher John Searle notes, this leaves us with a question: where do we fit into this picture? Beginning with Descartes and running up to now, questions about the nature of the human mind have morphed to include modern scientific discoveries, namely those from the fields I just mentioned. In this thesis, I look at recent neuroscientific arguments against dualism and personal causation, weighing them to decide whether interactive substance dualism is still a reasonable position to hold. I conclude that the relevant neuroscientific studies are ridden with unreasonable data interpretations and generalizations, and that they do not even diminish the rationality in holding interactive substance dualism. I then introduce and look at the more general scientific consensus-style argument for the causal closure of the physical. I argue that based on the current state of physics, we have little reason to believe the physical world is causally closed. Lastly, I argue that the most common alternative to dualism, materialism, is possibly epistemologically disastrous. This thesis ultimately shows that the strongest arguments against interactive substance dualism fail to go through, and that we in fact have good reason to be dualists of this kind today.



Interactive substance dualism