Interactionism (philosophy of mind)

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Interactionism is the theory in the philosophy of mind which holds that, matter and mind being distinct and independent, they exert causal effects on one another. As such, it is a type of dualism. It can be distinguished from competing dualist theories of epiphenomenalism (which admits causation, but views it as unidirectional rather than bidirectional), pre-established harmony, and occasionalism (which both deny causation, while seeking to explain the appearance of causation by other means).


  • You are outside walking and a wild animal suddenly crosses your path. This affects your mind resulting in your face showing fear and you step back. The animal sees your fear, becomes fearful itself, and retreats back into the brush. You then feel relieved, as does the animal. Mind and matter on both sides just interacted without physically touching each other. This sequence of action and response involved the unseen level of the mind-brain interface.
  • Witnessing the destructive terrorist events of 9/11 in New York City at the scene or on television had a profound effect on minds locally and all over the world.


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