Metaphysical problem of the relationship between mind and body. The modern problem stems from the thought of René Descartes, who is responsible for the classical formulation of dualism. Descartes's interactionism had many critics even in his own day. Thomas Hobbes denied the existence of mental substance. Materialism of a sort was also supported by Descartes's correspondent Pierre Gassendi (1592–1655). Benedict de Spinoza posited a single substance of which the mental and the material are attributes; his theory is known as psycho-physical parallelism. More recent views include the double-aspect theory, identity theory, eliminative materialism (which denies the reality of the familiar categories of mental state posited in so-called folk psychology), and theories of supervenience.
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In philosophy, any pair of irreducible, mutually heterogeneous principles used to analyze the nature and origins of knowledge (epistemological dualism) or to explain all of reality or some broad aspect of it (metaphysical dualism); also, any theory that employs dualisms. Examples of epistemological dualisms are subject and object and sensation and sensibilia; examples of metaphysical dualisms are mind and matter, good and evil, and God and world. Dualism is distinguished from monism and pluralism.
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