Thursday, June 10, 2010

Plantinga's Argument for Dualism

In my estimation this is a very strong argument for thinking that Dualism is true.


  1. Plantinga is giving an argument that oneself is not ones body. And this is not exactly the same thing as "anthropological dualism". Denying that you are your body does not even follow upon the claim that you are not identical to your body. One could be ones body and more than ones body, such that one is not identical to ones body, and yet also "be" ones body (and more).

    One could also affirm that one has non-material properties (denying physicalism, materialism, and naturalism), but deny that oneself and/or that these properties exist (or continue existing) if/when my body doesn't exist.

    Dualism and 'monism' are not the only options.

  2. Hello Baus,

    I would disagree with your assessment. I would say the argument limits you down differing types of Dualism. The first one saying that one could be ones body and more could either be interpreted as non-reductive physicalism (a form of monism) or perhaps one would want to say that being more than my body would mean that there is a immaterial aspect to myself (dualism).

    The second possibility is simply a form of dualism called emergent dualism, so to say that is somewhere is between is just plain false.

    So it seems that dualism and monism in terms of philosophy (there are some in theology that see three aspect of a human persons but this is not really a philosophical argument so much as it is a theological argument).

    So for what argument is supposed to be doing I think it is a good argument for dualism.

    God Bless,


  3. Can you post the general gist of the argument? I can't really view the video (I' work..).


  4. Nathanael, you're claiming that the position "oneself is ones body and more than ones body" is a form of monism? I'm afraid you're going to have to provide an argument. How are you defining monism such that "being x-thing and more than x-thing" amounts to "being a single thing, 'non-reductively'" ?

    In my second option, where do you see emergence? That example does not include emergence at all.

    Not intending to be rude, but you appear to be suffering from an acute lack of imagination. ;) I get the sense you assume something like the law of excluded middle necessitates that monism and dualism are the only options. But there are plurality-with-unity options.

    Let me (begin to) introduce you to another philosophical-anthropology option that is neither a monism, nor a dualism.

    Let's consider the categories you suggest, viz. "material" and "immaterial." Suppose that I have more than two distinct kinds of immaterial aspects. Let's suppose I have, say, a dozen aspects, only one of which is material, and that while none of these aspects comprehends or exhausts who I am, I am nonetheless all of them and more.

    You can't account for that sort of anthropological description in monistic or dualistic terms. If you think you can, in the face of the explanation I've given, you'll have to do more than just make an assertion to the contrary.

  5. Hello Baus,

    The plurality with unity options I mentioned when I brought up that there could three aspects of a immaterial thing. When I was using the term dualism I just meant that the argument that Plantinga gave at least proves that we are immaterial beings that are in some sense connected to a body. Could you nuance it more: yes, but when I was using Dualism I was using in that sense. And I think the argument at least proves that but it might leave room for someone to believe things like *I* am many immaterial things and so on. I see your point and where you are going.

    God Bless,