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What strengths and weaknesses do you see to the interactionist position?

Descartes tries to solve the mind-body problem by positing that mind (or soul) and body (or matter) both exist, each representing a fundamentally different form of reality, and that each can affect the other. That is: our thinking can cause physical actions, and bodily (e.g., neural) events can cause thoughts or feelings. This position is called interactionism.

What strengths and weaknesses do you see to the interactionist position?

What other solutions to the mind-body problem can you think of? Is there one for which you would advocate?

Descartes proposes that some ideas or ways of thinking are innate rather than acquired. He does so on the basis of pure reason. Are there empirical methods by which we, the psychologists of the present day, try to determine whether any psychological variables are innate? (I can think of a couple of very different approaches.)


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