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The Theory Of Parallelism

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Philosophy
Wordcount: 1077 words Published: 10th May 2017

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Mind and body is considered as a separate form of human. By giving an example for mind such as sad, euphoria, angry or happy, it is considered as mind. A mind can be explained as what we called “feeling”. For our body, it can do things such as cycling, hiking, writing paperwork, and talking. We cannot see how large is our mind but we can see our body. So, we can conclude that body is a physical subject while mind is a mentally subject. Based on the older philosophy theory, the mind and body is not correlated. This theory is called as parallelism. What is parallelism? Based on thefreedictionary.com, parallelism is “The doctrine that to every mental change there corresponds a concomitant but causally unconnected physical alteration.” (thefreedictionary.com ,2009) The meaning is every changes that happened in our mind, doesn’t affect our body while the changes in our body doesn’t affect our mind. These two are independent against each other. For example, if we’re happy, it just a stimulation of chemical in our body that is call endorphin. It is nothing related to our thinking.

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However, if we are saying that the mind and body are two different and independent things, we are no better than a machine or robot. The idea of Descartes’ theory has formed a mind and body problem. So what is mind and body problem? The problem is how does mind and body correlated to each other? According to Descartes’ philosophy, mind is a thinking thing while body is an extended thing. These two is somehow related to each other. To answer this question, Decartes has formed a philosophical theory called dualism. Based on Decartes’s dualism, body and mind is dependent against each other. The body needs the mind to tell them how to react and what to do and the mind needs the body as an object to express our thinking. However, if we said that there are connected to each other, but where is the connection between the mind and the body? There must some connection within the mind and body. The things that we think somehow affect our body and vice versa.

Decartes solution is possible for mind/body problem. What he said was mind and body are connected and irrelevant to each other, but where is the bond that connects the mind and body? Do they even exist? We can’t say that our body is connected by electrons or electromagnetic waves that generate within our body because electrons and electromagnetic waves is something that we can see and know for a long time through science. The connection between mind and body must not be visible to our naked eyes. If we use the theory of electrons as our proof of the existence; a scientist can manipulate the electrons that connect through our mind and body and extract the mind and put into someone’s body. The body must have a special code or something special to connect with the mind. We can’t just move the mind into someone’s body to survive. If we can do that, we can escape the fact of death. When a person is about to die, just extract the electrons and put into someone’s body. According to Joseph Almog, he said that “..here is the kind of mind a mind is is stable in time. Given that Decartes’s Meditation is a human mind, it may not turn into an angelic or divine mind..” (Joseph Almog, 2002, pg 94). Mind provides use stability. Hence, there must be a connection that binds within a mind and a body of a person, and mind and body must be complete with each other.

Besides that, if mind and body aren’t related just as what parallelism said, we can just live in this world without a body. The body basically is an extended thing. If I ask a normal person, what they think about mind. Basically they will just tell you something like mind is a soul, mental, or a spirit. So why don’t we just live in this world just by using a soul? Isn’t that our body is just a little an extra feature? When we’re dead, our body will be assumed as a corpse, our soul will be assumed as a spirit. Based on what I said before this about spirit and corpse, if dualism is not a solution for this, we can say that we’re just spirit living in a corpse body. We are no better than a zombie that doesn’t have any feeling and emotion towards anything. It is basically just a walking corpse. As a result for that, to be called as a human or a living being, one must be exist with a package that contains mind and body. These two things aren’t divisible as they two are depending on each other. Based on science, there is nothing such as zombie, spirit or recreation exists. “However, the scientific reporting of the reality only provided evidence based on medical research investigating birthmarks and defects.” (Casimir J. Bonk,contents pg xvii) This determines how we can deeply understand what an individual with thinking and physical are connected together.

Apart from that, physical (body) must exist with mind (consciousness). A person wouldn’t know what pain is, if the physical part of his body does not experience any pain before. For example, if a person touches a hot stove, he/she will feel the pain by pulling his/her hand. That person can scream too as an alert to show that we are in pain. However, the pain feeling will stays in our consciousness. For the next time, even when the stove if not hot, when we are going to touch it, there is a pain feeling in our mind. Besides that, if a person did not feel any pain before, will they know what is the meaning of pain is? They might just know the theory of pain but not exact consciousness of pain. Hence, it creates a conscious between mind and body about how we feel.

In conclusion, I think Decartes’s dualism is the solution for mind and body problem. Mind must exist with the body and body must exist with mind to stay in what we called as a human being. Without any of them, we are just a dead corpse or a spirit. Hence, I think Decartes has one of the best solutions for this problem.


Joseph Almog, 2002 What am I?: Descartes and the mind-body problem, Oxford University Printing Press.

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/parallelism , Access 17th February 2011, Updated at year 2000

Casimir J. Bonk, 2010, Descartes Was Right! Souls Do Exist and Reincarnation Proves It: A Challenge To Rethink Dualism


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