Cartesian DualismQUESTION: What is Cartesian dualism?ANSWER:
Dualism is an ancient concept that was deeply rooted in Greek thought. However, long before that, the ancient scriptures taught that mankind was made in God’s image and that Adam needed the spirit breathed into him before becoming a living soul. Almost 2000 years after Plato and Aristotle reasoned that the human mind or soul could not be identified with the physical body, Rene Descartes reinforced this concept and gave it a name, dualism. The word “Cartesius” is simply the Latin form of the name Descartes. Consequently, Cartesian dualism is simply Descartes concept of dualism.
Descartes’ famous saying epitomizes the dualism concept. He said, “cogito ergo sum,” “I reflect therefore I am.” Descartes held that the immaterial mind and the material body are two completely different types of substances and that they interact with each other. He reasoned that the body could be divided up by removing a leg or arm, but the mind or soul were indivisible.
This concept is difficult to accept for those with a secular humanist, materialist, and evolutionist worldview because accepting it is accepting supernaturalism. Consequently, Bible believers accept dualism and people with the opposite worldview find themselves obligated to reject it.