Problem of mind-body interaction

Cynthia asked:

Material things, including ones own body, are completely subject to physical laws. The immaterial mind can move ones body. Are these two claims incompatible? Explain.

Answer by Stuart Burns

One of the profoundest problems facing the doctrine of mind-body dualism is how the immaterial mind can influence (and be influenced by) the material body. The modern debate on this topic was framed by Descartes, who proposed that the interface takes place in the ‘pineal gland’ — although he did not specify how.

Although there have been some philosophers who have tackled the challenge, the apparent insolubility of the problem has led most philosophers to the opinion that whatever the mind is, it is not an ‘immaterial thing’ in the sense implied by your question. Most remaining mind-body dualists have come to regard the mind as non-material in the sense that an active process is not material in the same sense as the physical body is material. In just the same way that ‘life’ is not a material thing, but rather an active process of material things.

Hope this answers your question.

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