An Analysis of Cartesian Substance Dualism about Mental Causation with Focus on Jonathan Lowe's View

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Candidate of Philosophy of Religion, University of Tehran

2 Associate Professor, University of Tehran


It seems somehow difficult to defend the Cartesian view about mind-body causation, considering nowadays neurologists’ findings about the human brain and philosophical critiques to it. However, Jonathan Lowe, based on some revisions on some of Descartes’ presumptions and also sketching a new plan of mind-body causation, tries to present a new view, being also in the framework of Substance Dualism. In this article, we are trying to show Lowe’s model superior to the Cartesian one. So, at first, we will show some important problems with which substance dualism confronts, such as the causal nexus problem, the pairing problem and the causal closure problem. After that, we will explain that Lowe has the ability of figuring out the causal nexus problem and the pairing problem by reconsidering some of Descartes’ presumptions. Also, considering the mind position and its role Lowe assumes in the physical world, he cannot only explain the voluntary actions of human, but also reconcile his view with causal closure principle, although it seems that his view needs more clearness in some aspects.


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