In philosophy, dualism, as compared to monism, is a theory which holds that the mind (or soul) is separate from the body; the argument or subject is sometimes called: mind-brain dualism, Cartesian dualism (after Rene Descartes), or mind-body problem, among other variants. The opposite of view to the dualism position, supposedly, is the materialism or physicalism position.

Economic dualism
Economics historian Lewis Haney (1920), as cited by Howard W. Odum (1929), outlined six pairs of contrasts, in early economic approaches, that seem to portray a dualism of sorts: [5]

Materialism | Idealism
Rationalism | Religious teleology
Hedonism | Reason
Individualism | Monarchical government
Laissez-faire | Protection to agriculture
Wealth is all-important | Well-being is not wealth

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Egyptian dualism
The original world-dominating dualism model originated in Egyptian and is very elaborate, to say the least—the primary or original version of it found in Anunian theology of the Heliopolis creation myth, according to which the original classical element was water (Nun) out of which life-giving principle, soul, animation, or first creator god (Ra) emerged, in short. On this basis, over the years 3100-500BC, variations of Egyptian religion-physics followed, according to which the human eventually came to be divided into about nine parts, depending on version: [3]


1.khatphysical body
4.kaspirit of life force
5.akhthe soul and spirit reunited as a successful reincarnated afterlife entity
6.renname of the person
shadow of person


The residual aspects of this Egyptian theory, germane to the modern colloquial view, in short, is the body/soul (khat/ba) divide, body/spirit (khat/ka), or body/mind divide depending on perspective.

Greek-Egyptian dualism
Greek philosopher Thales (c.624-c.546), attributed by Aristotle to have been the first philosopher in the Greek tradition, was the first to initiate the study of Egyptian philosophy of nature, by himself traveling to Egypt as well as advising other Greek philosophers to go to Egypt in order to learn, such as Pythagoras: [4]

Thales advised Pythagoras to go to Egypt and to entertain himself as much as possible with the priests of Memphis and Diospolis: it was from them that he had drawn all the knowledge which made him a sage and a scientist in the eyes of the masses.”

The claim Thales was the founder of Greek philosophy rests primarily on Aristotle, who wrote he was the first (Greek) to suggest a single material substratum for the universe, namely, water, or moisture—according to which, even though Thales renounced mythology, his choice of water as the fundamental building block of matter had its precedent in the Egyptian tradition (cf. "Nun", the undifferentiated primordial waters before time and space and its "Ba" or "soul", the autogenetor Atum). To Thales, the entire universe is a living organism, nourished by exhalations from water (cf. Egypt's organic, hylezoistic view on creation). [4]

Hence, Thales' significance for Greek philosophy, lies less in his choice of water as the essential substance, than in his attempt to explain nature by the simplification of phenomena. Indeed, Thales searched for causes within nature itself rather than in the caprices of the anthropomorphic gods.He was deemed the first Greek to give a purely natural explanation of the origin of the world, free from all mythological ingredients and unnecessary complexities (linearization and homogeneity). [4]

Aristotelian dualism
Greek philosopher Aristotle, in turn, absorbed all of this Thalean directive, and in his circa 330BC writings on psychology, seems to have been the first dominate thinker to initiate the debate surrounding dualism position, which invariably, as summarized above, seems to have been Egyptian in origin: body/ba divide. In this framework, Aristotle insists that the mind or intellect (nous) may not be enmeshed in the body in the same way as these sorts of states, and so denies that the study of soul falls in its entirety to the natural scientist—wherein he seems to employ the term soul (psuchê in Greek, or anima in Latin), psychologically, so it naturally investigates all ensouled or animate beings. [1] Aristotle states his position on the matter of body-soul dualism as follows: [2]

“There is however one peculiar inconsistency which we may note as marking this and many other psychological theories. They place the soul in the body and attach it to the body without trying tin addition to determine the reason why or the conditions of the body under which such attachment is produced. This would seem however to be a real question calling for a solution.”

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Renaissance dualism
French philosopher Rene Descartes initiated the renaissance dualism argument in circa 1620s, according to which a human is an automaton with a soul (located in the pineal gland, according to Descartes anatomical studies), in short.

Dutch philosopher Benedict Spinoza, in his discussions on the subject of "will", in his 1677 Ethics, was one of the first to criticize Descartes’ dualism position.

German polymath Johann Goethe, beginning in 1796, built on Spinoza's position by adding affinity chemistry theory to the argument, resulting in human chemical theory.

The following are related quotes:

“Man, feeling within himself a concealed force that insensibly produced action, that imperceptibly gave direction to the motion of his machine, believed that all nature, of whose energies he is ignorant, with whose modes of action he is unacquainted, owed its motion to an agent analogous to his own soul, who acted upon the great macrocosm in the same manner that his soul acted upon his body. Man, having supposed himself double, made nature double also: he invented it from its own peculiar energy; he separated it from its mover, which by degrees he made spiritual.”
Baron d’Holbach (1770), The System of Nature (pg. 117) [6]

“The chemists who uphold dualism are far from being agreed among themselves; nevertheless, all of them in maintaining their opinion, rely upon the phenomena of chemical reactions. For a long time the uncertainty of this method has been pointed out: it has been shown repeatedly, that the atoms put into movement during a reaction take at that time a new arrangement, and that it is impossible to deduce the old arrangement from the new one. It is as if, in the middle of a game of chess, after the disarrangement of all the pieces, one of the players should wish, from the inspection of the new place occupied by each piece, to determine that which it originally occupied.”
— Auguste Laurent (1853), Chemical Method, Notation, Classification, and Nomenclature (pg. 18) (Ѻ)

“Most people are dualists. Intuitively, we think of ourselves not as physical devices, but as immaterial minds or souls housed in physical bodies. Most experimental psychologists and neuroscientists disagree, at least officially. The modern science of mind proceeds on the assumption that the mind is simply what the brain does. We don't talk much about this, however. We scientists take the mind's physical basis for granted. Among the general public, it's a touchy subject.”
Joshua Greene (2011), “Social Neuroscience and the Soul’s Last Stand” [7]

1. Aristotle’s Psychology – Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
2. Sherrington, Charles. (1940). Man on His Nature (pg. 212). CUP Archive.
3. (a) Ancient Egyptian concept of the soul – Wikipedia.
(b) Egyptian model of the human being – Google Sites.
(c) Oakes, Lorna, and Gahlin, Lucia. (2002). Ancient Egypt: an Illustrated Reference to the Myths, Religions, Pyramids and Temples of the Land of the Pharaohs (§: Ka, Ba, and Akh, pg. 393). Hermes House.
4. (a) Thales – Wikipedia.
(b) The Impact of Ancient Egypt on Greek philosophy – Maat.Sofiatopia.org.
5. (a) Haney, Lewis. (1920). History of Economic Thought: a Critical Account of the Origin and Development of the Economic Theories of the Leading Thinkers in the Leading Nations (pg. 185). MacMillan.
(b) Odum, Howard W. and Jocher, Katharine C. (1929). An Introduction to Social Research (pg. 185-86). H. Holt and Co.
6. (a) Holbach, Baron. (1770). The System of Nature: Laws of the Moral and Physical World (notes by Denis Diderot; translator: H.D. Robinson) (pg. 117). J.P. Mendum, 1889.
(b) Joshi, Sunand T. (2014). The Original Atheists: First Thoughts on Nonbelief (pgs. 72-73). Prometheus Books.
7. (a) Greene, Joshua D. (2011). “Social Neuroscience and the Soul’s Last Stand”, in: Social Neuroscience: Toward Understanding the underpinnings of the Social Mind (editors: A. Dodorov, S. Fiske, and D. Prentice) (pgs. 263-73). Oxford University Press.
(b) Musolino, Julien. (2015). The Soul Fallacy: What Science Shows we Gain from Letting Go of Our Soul Beliefs (foreword: Victor Stenger) (pg. 21). Prometheus.

External links
Dualism (philosophy of mind) – Wikipedia.

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