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Mind-Body Dualism

4. The Conceivability Argument

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About this Lecture


In this module, we focus on another argument for dualism—the conceivability argument. This argues that the fact that we can conceive of a world where mind and body are separate—for example, a world in which ‘zombies’ exist (i.e. bodies without minds)—is itself proof of mind-body dualism.


In this course, Dr Cressida Gaukroger (University College, London) explores the philosophical theory of mind-body dualism—the theory that mind and body are distinct kinds of substances. The course begins by considering how dualism differs from materialism and idealism, before delving deeper in the philosophical writings of René Descartes, who offered several arguments for the dualist position. In the third module, we think about the causal connection between mind and body, before considering two more recent arguments for the dualist position. In the final module, we consider the problems with dualism that remain unresolved today.


Cressida is a teaching fellow in the Philosophy Department at University College, London. Prior to this she was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of Philosophy, University of London.

In April, 2014, she completed her PhD at CUNY Graduate Center in Philosophy of Mind/Philosophy of Psychology. She has researched a wide range of philosophical topics throughout her BA at the University of Sydney, and MPhil at the University of Cambridge, and is interested in the following areas: Cognitive Science, Early Modern Philosophy, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Science, Ethics, Aesthetics, Epistemology and the Philosophy of Food.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Gaukroger, C. (2018, August 15). Mind-Body Dualism - The Conceivability Argument [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Gaukroger, C. "Mind-Body Dualism – The Conceivability Argument." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 15 Aug 2018,