Dualism

National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology

Dualism is a belief system that posits the existence of two distinct, separate entities in the universe, typically with one entity being physical and the other non-physical or spiritual.

In the context of philosophy, dualism is often associated with the mind-body problem, which is concerned with the relationship between the physical body and subjective experiences such as consciousness, emotions, and free will. Dualists argue that the mind and body are separate entities, and that the mind is a non-physical or spiritual entity that interacts with the physical body through some unknown means.

In the context of religion and spirituality, dualism may involve the belief in two opposing forces or principles, such as good and evil, light and dark, or God and the devil. Dualistic beliefs may also involve the concept of an afterlife, where the soul or spirit is believed to continue existing after the physical body dies.

Critics of dualism argue that it presents a number of logical and metaphysical challenges, and may be difficult to reconcile with scientific understanding of the universe. They contend that it may be impossible to demonstrate the existence of a non-physical entity such as the mind, and that it is unclear how such an entity could interact with the physical world.

Despite these criticisms, dualism remains a subject of philosophical debate and continues to influence contemporary discussions on topics such as the nature of consciousness and the relationship between mind and matter.