Second Nature Home > Short Essays by Dan Bruiger >

Dualism Writ Large

On the one hand, God is above and separate from the world; on the other, God is the world. Such competing doctrines curiously resemble the Mind-Body Problem: we are our bodies, yet we also perceive ourselves to be distinct from the body and world which host us, and somehow above them. As idealists, we may even imagine that the world and the body cannot exist without our consciousness, rather than the other way around. And so we may conclude, as Berkeley did, that there must exist a God to be conscious of things when no one else is looking. Even supposing that nature is in some sense the body of the divine, have we not then imputed to God the same problematic relationship to embodiment that we ourselves experience, and which even the Almighty cannot solve?

RELATED TAGS: [deism, pantheism, mind-body problem/dualism, mind over matter, Bishop Berkeley, when a tree falls in the forest, problem of embodiment]

© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.