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22 JULY 2014

Substance Dualism, Property Dualism and Mind-Body Dualism

"Consider the following three Cartesian theses:

Substance dualism: Any substance with mental properties lacks material properties and any substance with material properties lacks mental properties.

Property dualism: Mental properties and material properties are different properties.

Real distinction between mind and body: The mind and the body are numerically distinct substances.

How are these theses logically related? Substance dualism is the strongest of the three, and entails the other two. It entails the real distinction between mind and body. For the mind is a substance with mental properties, and the body is a substance with material properties. Now if the mind lacks material properties, and the body lacks mental properties, then the mind and the body cannot be the same substance. But the real distinction between mind and body does not entail substance dualism. For that mind and body are two numerically distinct substances is compatible with both of them having both mental and material properties.

Substance dualism also entails property dualism. For if a substance with mental properties lacks material properties, then mental and material properties are different properties–otherwise, a substance with mental properties would be a substance with material properties. But property dualism does not entail substance dualism. It could be that mental properties and material properties are different properties and yet a substance with mental properties is also a substance with material properties.

But the real distinction between mind and body and property dualism do not entail each other. It could be that mind and body are numerically distinct substances but mental and material properties are the same. For instance, it could be that mind and body are distinct because they have different properties: the mind has a property M that the body lacks, and the body has a property B that the mind lacks. This does not preclude that both M and B are both mental and material properties. So the real distinction between mind and body does not entail property dualism. Nor does property dualism entail the real distinction between mind and body. For even if mental and material properties are different properties, it can still be the case that the mind, which has mental properties, and the body, which has material properties, are the same substance."

(Gonzalo Rodriguez–Pereyra, pp.70–71)

Rodriguez–Pereyra, G. (2008). "Descartes's Substance Dualism and His Independence Conception of Substance". Journal of the History of Philosophy 46(1): 69–90.
Fig.1 Lucy Jones "Philosophy of the Mind Episode Two: Criticisms of Substance Dualism", YouTube.



bodyCartesian dualismcognitionconsciousnessdefining features of modernitydifferentiationdistinctionsdualism • epiphenomenalism • Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra • introspectionlogical-analytical paradigmmaterial environmentmaterial object • material properties • material realitymaterial space • material substances • material thinkingmaterial world • mental properties • mental substance • mindmind-body dualism • mind-body problem • minds divorced of bodiesobjective knowledgeobjective realityobjectivity • other minds • parallelism • philosophical position • philosophy of mind • physical worldproperties of nature • property dualism • realm of existenceRene Descartesscientifically established objective facts • separability argument • separate thinking • solipsism • soul • subject-object orientated philosophy • subjectificationsubjective conditionsubjectivismsubjectivity • substance dualism


Simon Perkins

The Mass Observation Archive: a UK social history writing project

"The Mass Observation Project (MOP) is a unique UK–based writing project which has been running since 1981. ... [it] differs from other similar social investigations because of its historical link to the original Mass Observation and because of its focus is on voluntary, self–motivated participation. It revives the early Mass Observation notion that everyone can participate in creating their own history or social science. The Mass Observers do not constitute a statistically representative sample of the population but can be seen as reporters or 'citizen journalists' who provide a window on their worlds.

The material is solicited in response to 'directives' or open–ended questions sent to them by post or email three times a year. The directives contain two or three broad themes which cover both very personal issues and wider political and social issues and events.



1937198120th century21st century • Charles Madge • citizen journalismconfessioncultural heritagediagramdiary • directives • drawingseventseveryday lifehistorical archiveshistorical chronicles • Humphrey Jennings • letterslistlongitudinal studymapMass Observation Project (MOP)material culture • memoir • open-ended questionsopinion • ordinary people • personal experiencephotographsplacespolitical issuesposterity • press cutting • qualitative researchresearch resourcesself knowledge • self-identity • self-revelationsocial historysocial issuessocial researchstatistically representative samplestoriessubjectivitytheir storiesthematic patterns • Tom Harrisson • UK • University of Sussex • voluntary participationwriting project


Simon Perkins
15 MARCH 2012

Seeking quality in criterion referenced assessment

"Norm and criterion referenced assessment are two distinctly different methods of awarding grades that express quite different values about teaching, learning and student achievement. Norm referenced assessment, or 'grading on the curve' as it is commonly known, places groups of students into predetermined bands of achievements. Students compete for limited numbers of grades within these bands which range between fail and excellence. This form of grading speaks to traditional and rather antiquated notions of 'academic rigour' and 'maintaining standards'. It says very little about the nature or quality of teaching and learning, or the learning outcomes of students. Grading is formulaic and the procedure for calculating a final grade is largely invisible to students.

Criterion referenced assessment has been widely adopted in recent times because it seeks a fairer and more accountable assessment regime than norm referencing. Students are measured against identified standards of achievement rather than being ranked against each other. In criterion referenced assessment the quality of achievement is not dependent on how well others in the cohort have performed, but on how well the individual student has performed as measured against specific criteria and standards. Underlying this grading scheme is a concern for accountability regarding the qualities and achievements of students, transparency and negotiability in the process by which grades are awarded, an acknowledgement of subjectivity and the exercise of professional judgement in marking."

(Lee Dunn, Sharon Parry and Chris Morgan, 2002)


2002 • academic rigour • accountabilityassessmentassessment criteria • assessment regime • awarding grades • banding • benchmark • cohort • criteria and standards • criterion • criterion referenced assessment • education • excellence • fail • fairness • grades • grading • grading on the curve • grading schemeinformation in contextlearninglearning outcomes • marking • measurement • negotiability • norm • norm referenced assessment • norm referencing • pedagogy • predetermined bands of achievements • professional judgement • qualities and achievements • quality of achievement • range • ranked • standardisationstandardised testingstandardsstandards of achievementstudent achievementstudent performancestudentssubjectivityteachingteaching and learning • teaching and learning quality • teaching methodstransparency


Simon Perkins
15 FEBRUARY 2005

The limits of language (galaxies & cell division in a coffee cup)

"Perhaps it is a link enabling pass from one subject to another, therefore to live together. But since social relations are always ambiguous...since thought divides as much as it unites...since words unite or isolate by what they express or omit...since an immense gulf separates my subjective awareness...from the objective truth I represent for other...since I constantly blame myself, though I feel innocent...since every event transforms my daily life...since I constantly fail to communicate...since each failure makes me aware of solitude...since...since I cannot escape crushing objectivity or isolating subjectivity...since I cannot rise to the state of being, or fall into nothingness...I must listen, I must look around more than ever. The world... my kin... my twin. The world when revolutions are impossible and wars threaten me...when capitalism is unsure of its rights and the working class retreats...when the lighting progress of science...brings the future terribly near...when the future is closer than the present...when the distant galaxies are at my kin, my twin... Where is the beginning? But what beginning? God created heaven and earth. But one should be able to put it better. To say that the limits of language, of my language...are those of the world, of my world...and that in speaking, I limit the world, I end it. And when mysterious, logical death abolishes these limits...there will be no question, no answer, just vagueness. But what if things come into focus again...this can only be through the rebirth of conscience. Everything follows from this."

(Jean Luc Godard)

Fig.1 Godard, Jean Luc (1967). "Deux ou trois choses que je sais d'elle" [Two or three things I know about her]. 84 mins

[Godard uses a simple sequence of air–bubbles slowly decaying in a cup of black coffee as a metaphor to explain the perils of reductionist thought: bubbles decay; truth–claims limit. The sequence appears 29 minutes into film.]


12 FEBRUARY 2004

Frozen In The Moment: Into The Void

The short 16mm film; "A Little Death" evolved from an earlier (speculative) project entitled "Into The Void". This project problematised issues of space (zone, boundary, intersection) through their instigation as narrative actors. The project enquired: How do 3D people live up to idealised 2D representations? What happens if an individual who doesn't 'belong' is given the chance to 'fit in' & remains dislocated? As Frank turns to reach out and touch his surrounds he finds them to be flat and lifeless representations – literally a 2D world of backdrops hanging one foot in front of his face – mirrors of his own subjectivity. Will he locate himself within this shifting but lifeless tableau or escape into the void beyond?
(Simon Perkins & Paul Swadel, September 1993)

[The project was conceptualised in part as a play on Edouard Manet's 'Olympia' (and its reframing of Titian's 'The Venus of Urbino'.]




Simon Perkins

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