In the course of this book we have investigated a number of views about the mind and its relation to the body, and we can begin our concluding review by restating some of the major points we have had cause to notice. Cartesian dualism does have the virtue of accommodating the point we noticed right at the start of our investigation, namely, that human consciousness, with its inherently subjective point of view, does not sit happily with a scientific worldview which strives for objectivity. It does this by claiming that mind just is radically different from body and – to use a spatial metaphor – exists outside the realm of the material universe. As we have seen, however, this approach is subject to serious philosophical criticism, notably in respect of one of the other basic features of the mental we have noticed, mental causation. Another point we have not so far mentioned is that the Cartesian version of dualism makes the very existence of consciousness even more puzzling than it might be, for how is this phenomenon to come into
being? No material cause, the operation of the brain for example, can bring it into existence, since that would require causal interaction between the material and immaterial realms of a kind we have established to be impossible. Descartes’ answer, of course, is that God creates minds, God being, like minds, immaterial in nature. It follows that Descartes needs God in order to complete his philosophy.