What is Antimaterialism?

Meaning of Antimaterialism

Antimaterialism, or mind-body dualism, is the philosophical position  that defends the mind and mental phenomena as, at least in some sense, non-physical or non-material.

The body is not identical, constituting two substances. Taking center stage in discussions of mind-body dualism we find the “ mind-body problem ”,

It deals with the way in which a material physical substance, the body, and an immaterial non-physical substance, the mind, communicate.

Also the positions that oppose dualism . Emphasizing the different forms of physicalism, based on the idea that when we talk about mind and body, we are actually talking about the same substance.

physical substance , the mind being reducible to, derived from, or dependent on the body.

Dualism , on the other hand, as its name implies, argued that there are two independent substances , one material and one immaterial, or at least that the substance manifests itself in two different ways.


There are three basic forms of mind-body dualism: substantial dualism, property dualism, and predicate dualism.

Anti Materialism and Dualism

Substantial or Cartesian Dualism

For substantial dualism, the most radical form of dualism, there are actually two separate and independent substances, the mind and the body.

This position defends that the mind can exist without the body and that the body cannot think.

With René Descartes as its most famous proponent, Substantial Dualism remains compatible with most Western theologies .

The main critics of this form of dualism , in general, maintain that it does not offer a satisfactory solution to the mind-body problem. Since the immaterial mind can connect and relate to the material body.

The problem of mind and body was originally identified by Descartes. Until today no philosopher has been able to offer a satisfactory solution to the problem of mind and body by maintaining a dualistic position with respect to substance.

Property Dualism

In property dualism, philosophers and cognitive scientists argued that although the mind is not constituted as a distinct substantial entity, it has a set of properties that are distinct from the properties attributed to the body.

These cannot be reduced to the properties of the brain in particular or the body in general, while remaining completely independent.

According to the philosopher Donald Davidson, consciousness is ontologically irreducible to physics and neurobiology.

Dualism Predicates

Predicate dualism, on the other hand, accepts the physicalist proposition that there is only one category of substances and properties of substances, which are physical.

But he argues that the predicates we use to describe mental events cannot be redescribed in terms of the physical predicates of natural language.

This position, defended by philosophers such as Jerry Fodor and Donald Davidson . It is also known as non-reductive physicalism as it accepts that there is only physical substance, but the description of events requires something that differs from it.

For such philosophers, mental events are physical events, but all reductionist proposals are unsatisfactory.

Mental states cannot be reduced to functional, brain, or behavioral states.

Although it is not a reduction, Davidson will defend the existence of a ” supervenience ” relationship, a kind of dependence of mental states on physical states.

Among the great opponents of dualism we find the philosopher John Searle, who considers that the distinction between body and mind is an error.

For Searle, the reasons are not enough to characterize two substances and the monistic position.  There is only one substance , it has no explanatory loss relative to the dualist position.

Dualism is an unnecessary ontological inflation, a position that posits substances unnecessarily, inflating ontology, just to justify the position itself.

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