The Relationship between Mind-Body Dualism and Personal Values

  •  Gunne Grankvist    
  •  Petri Kajonius    
  •  Bjorn Persson    


Dualists view the mind and the body as two fundamental different “things”, equally real and independent of each other. Cartesian thought, or substance dualism, maintains that the mind and body are two different substances, the non-physical and the physical, and a causal relationship is assumed to exist between them. Physicalism, on the other hand, is the idea that everything that exists is either physical or totally dependent of and determined by physical items. Hence, all mental states are fundamentally physical states. In the current study we investigated to what degree Swedish university students’ beliefs in mind-body dualism is explained by the importance they attach to personal values. A self-report inventory was used to measure their beliefs and values. Students who held stronger dualistic beliefs attach less importance to the power value (i.e., the effort to achieve social status, prestige, and control or dominance over people and resources). This finding shows that the strength in laypeople’s beliefs in dualism is partially explained by the importance they attach to personal values.

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