Do you believe that the mind and the body are different from each other? Do you hold that it is the mind that thinks and the body that interacts in the physical world? Do you think that the mind and the body are two different kinds of things? If you answered yes to these questions, you're probably a Cartesian dualist. This page is designed to present step by step instructions on how not to be a Cartesian dualist. It will walk you through the steps required to eliminate this type of dualism from the philosophical positions you hold to be true.
How to Not Be a Cartesian Dualist
Do not to blurt out "I am not a dualist" when speaking to your friends, especially when you have not been asked whether or not you are a dualist. Emphatically denying your Cartesian dualism will likely make them taunt you about being a closet Cartesian dualist for months to come. Given that you probably are a Cartesian dualist, and in need of recovery from this tenuous philosophical position, it is important to be calm and collected in the face of everyday discussions with friends.
Recognize that you are a dualist. You must admit that you are powerless over your Cartesian dualism, and that your life as a dualist has become unmanageable.
Recognize that other philosophical positions are powerful alternatives to Cartesian dualism.
Use your "mind" (as you might still think of it) to decide that Cartesian dualism is no longer the right philosophical position for you.
Make a searching and fearless philosophical inventory of yourself.
Admit to yourself, others, and God, that Cartesian dualism is wrong. The easiest method for accomplishing this is to come to a full understanding of the problem of interactionism. Interactionism is the view that the mind and the body causally influence one another, a common-sense opinion that you believe as a recovering Cartesian dualist. Interactionism violates the doctrine of physical closure—the basic idea that physicists are right about the world and that it operates as a causally closed system. If physical closure were not true, the conservation of energy would not hold, and the universe would be a pretty messed up place for all of us (not that we would likely exist if it weren't a closed system, but that is not the point). The following argument from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy shows why interactionism is so problematic: "For X to be a cause of Y, X must contribute something to Y. The only way a purely mental event could contribute to a purely physical one would be to contribute some feature not already determined by a purely physical event. But if physical closure is true, there is no feature of the purely physical effect that is not contributed by the purely physical cause. Hence interactionism violates physical closure".
Admit that you are ready to remove these defects of philosophical argumentation from the views you hold to be true.
Remove aforementioned arguments from the views you hold to be true. Replace them with epiphenomenalism or some other form of argumentation that does not violate the basic tenets of a physical universe. You COULD go for parallelism, but that whole "God set it all up from the beginning" argument violates free will pretty strongly. Besides, you probably don't want to go from being a Cartesian to being a Liebnizian. That is really no better, so just go with the epiphenomenalism for now.
Make a list of the persons you annoyed with your dualist positions. This is probably a lot of people, so it might be best to use Excel so that you can alphabetize the list in the future.
Continue to take personal inventory and admit when you have accidentally slipped back into a Cartesian position. It'll likely happen a lot at first, so be humble about this.
Seek through reading and education to improve your awareness and contact with philosophically tenable positions that are not Cartesian dualism.
Having had a philosophical awakening as the result of these steps, seek to carry your new message to fellow Cartesian dualists in order that they too might be shown the error of Cartesian dualism and be shown the light of defensible philosophies of mind.