Dualism is a doctrine engaged on two fronts. It affirms a thesis about the mind, in opposition to various forms of materialism and mental reductionism, and a thesis about the physical world, in opposition to various forms of mentalism and idealism. This book is an examination of one dualist account of the mind. It is a defence of the Cartesian account in which the immaterial contents of the mind are assigned to an immaterial mental subject. The book provides a vigorous attack on alternative accounts of the mind - both those, like functionalism and the identity theories, which are opposed to dualism as such, and those which accept dualism in a Humean (non-Cartesian) form. It also tries to rebut the standard objections brought against the dualist or Cartesian positions, paying particular attention to the issues of psychophysical causation and the nature of the self. In its final sections, the book develops positive accounts of the attachment of the self to the body, its power of free agency, and its role in personal identity.
Although at many points they accord with our ordinary intuitions, the views argued for in The Immaterial Self are in radical conflict with the materialist outlook of the current philosophical establishment. Whatever their sympathies, all students of philosophy should profit from the clear and systematic way in which the issues are discussed.