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Gertler, Brie, , . In Defence of Mind-Body Dualism
2007, in Reason and Responsibility 13th edition (Feinberg & Shafer-Landau (eds.)). Wadsworth.
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Helen De Cruz

Abstract: In this essay, I defend naturalistic dualism. I take, as my starting point, and argument made by Rene Descartes in his Meditations. I expand and defend this argument, drawing on some ideas developed by contemporary philosophers. The expanded argument is, I think, much more powerful than most physicalists recognize. After making my case for dualism, I offer some criticisms of physicalism. The paper will close by defending dualism from the charge that the picture of reality it proves is unacceptably spooky.

Comment: Excellent core reading for an introductory philosophy of mind course introducing dualism. It could be particularly helpful to work through the premises of the disembodiment argument, and ask students which (if any) they consider the most contentious ones. The paper is nicely divided into sections that either mount a particular defence of dualism, or respond to a particular objection to it. It could be a good to consider which of Gertler's arguments they consider to be the strongest and weakest, and why. This could lead to a very productive discussion.

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