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Therefore, even when unity of mind and body presents a more realistic picture of the human functioning, physicians rather stick to the familiar dualistic thinking to match that of their mentors and colleagues.

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Like medical practitioners, patients also perpetuate the mind and body dualism. Being a product of modern dualistic culture, they tend to feel sceptical about nonbiological explanations for their illnesses, as they appear unreal, illegitimate and unscientific in nature Duncun, It, however, cost us dearly, as it took our focus away from the dynamic nature of human beings, their relationship with the environment and their real health concerns, and to that extent blocked the development of effective interventions. Our journey toward knowledge and understanding of nature has never been forward moving seamlessly.

Mind and body dualism and its influence on medicine is a prototype of that same journey: of great strides forward and a huge leap backward. Philosophical assumptions on which knowledge and practices are built need to be questioned and revised time and again for their viability; else they compromise our search for knowledge and effectiveness of practices originating therein.

Mind-body dualism is an example of a metaphysical stance that was once much needed to unshackle science and medicine from dogma, but which later had far reaching restrictive influence on the field of medicine, on its complete understanding of real health issues, and on developing effective interventions to deal with the same. Conflict of interest. The paper is my original unpublished work, not under consideration for publication elsewhere.

Singh and S. Singh eds. What kind of metaphysical stand with respect to mind and body relationship is conducive to addressing the health issues of human beings? Which methods of investigation should supplement the analytical method to study all the influences on health of human beings? How can one bridge the mind-body divide that is persisting despite its self-defeating consequences in the field of medicine? Where should we begin? Can alternative and complementary medical practices based on a different set of assumptions originating in different cultures be integrated with conventional medicine to effect improved health care?

If yes, how? If no, what are the obstacles? Neeta Mehta is a Clinical Psychologist by training. She is a member of the Ethics Committee for Scientific Research Centre conducting cosmetology research. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Mens Sana Monogr v.

PHILOSOPHY - René Descartes

Mens Sana Monogr. Neeta Mehta , PhD.


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Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer. Address correspondence to: Dr. E-mail: moc. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Philosophical theory about the nature of human beings has far reaching consequences on our understanding of various issues faced by them.

Introduction Mind and body dualism represents the metaphysical stance that mind and body are two distinct substances, each with a different essential nature. Mind and Body Dualism: Reformatory and Confining Force in Medicine Mind and body dualism was the critical conceptual leap Moon, that was desperately sought at that time in history. Mind and Body Dualism: Methodological Implications Dualism also laid the groundwork for positivism which means a logical thought based upon empirical, i. Mind and Body Dualism: A Basis of Biomedical Model The dualistic stance of human nature and analytical method determined the biomedical model in medicine.

Singh, Emergence of diseases that have psychological, social and environmental components as part of their aetiology also challenges the hegemony of biomedicine. Concluding Remarks [see also Figure 1 ]. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Take home message Philosophical assumptions on which knowledge and practices are built need to be questioned and revised time and again for their viability; else they compromise our search for knowledge and effectiveness of practices originating therein.

Footnotes Conflict of interest None declared.


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  • Declaration The paper is my original unpublished work, not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Questions That This Paper Raises What kind of metaphysical stand with respect to mind and body relationship is conducive to addressing the health issues of human beings? About the Author. References 1. Descartes R. Meditations on the first philosophy. In: Hitchins R. M, editor. Great Books of the Western World. New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica; Duncan G. Mind-body dualism and the biopsychosocial model of pain: What did Descartes really say?

    Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Hart N. The sociology of health and medicine. Lancashire:: Causeway Press; Research Methods in Information Systems. North-Holland: Amsterdam; The poverty of scientism in information systems; pp. Annals of Internal Medicine. Kriel J. The problem of humanizing medical education: Part I.

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    Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine. Gold J. Cartesian dualism and the current crisis in medicine - A plea for a philosophical approach: Discussion paper. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine. Moon G. Health care and society. In: Moon G, Gillespie R, editors. London: Routledge; [ Google Scholar ]. Ryle G. The Concept of Mind.

    New York: Barnes and Noble; Siegrist H. The distinctive views of his later work are formed, according to Alanen, during this time. In chapter two, three different perspectives about the nature of man are distinguished: man as an object of mechanistic physics, man as mind or intellect and so an epistemic subject, and man as a real union between the mind and body. She focuses on the third, as it is the real union that has been overlooked or misconstrued by most.

    How this union is to [End Page ] be conceived, and the epistemological implications of it are explored. By highlighting the consequences of Descartes's distinction between the mind and the body in terms of knowledge, Alanen directly confronts Ryle and his legacy.

    Lilli Alanen, Descartes' Concept of Mind - PhilPapers

    In short, because we cannot expect to have knowledge of the mind—body union, we cannot conceive it—there is no category mistake to be made. She elaborates much more in the chapter. Chapters three, four and five, are centered on the writings from Here Alanen focuses on Descartes's notion of thinking and modes of thoughts. The way that thinking is defined, its intentional and representative nature, and the status of sensations as mental phenomena are carefully explored in light of discussions of these issues in contemporary literature and in the literature of Descartes's time.

    The issues are complex, but the writing is clear and easy to follow. Her discussions of representation, sense perception, and material falsity are particularly good in these chapters. Chapters six and seven reflect the issues that Princess Elisabeth raised: emotions, will, and related moral issues. These two chapters are perhaps the most significant in the book. Chapter six centers on The Passions. The passions depend on the union of the mind and body and do not consist in thought alone. Alanen sees them as a subclass of thoughts. She examines carefully the intentionality of emotions, the distinction between action and passions, and the functions attributed to the body and the soul.

    She raises a number of questions, some of which chapter seven begins to answer, and others which are left to challenge the reader. Chapter seven is about free will and virtue. Alanen places Descartes's conception of the will and agency in the context of the debate between the voluntarists and the intellectualists.


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