Be sure to carefully read the Lesson entitled Ad Hominem – Appeal to Ignorance – Burden of Proof 2018 before you do this DQ.

In scientific or philosophical contexts, it is considered that when someone makes a claim, the burden of proof is on them to support their viewpoint if established knowledge makes their claim markedly less probable than the opposite claim. For example: if someone claims that red polar bears exist, the burden of proof is on them to provide evidence of a red polar bear. Why? Because based on all evidence that science currently has, it is improbable that there are any red polar bears. [Reason 1: red polar bears would have been sighted by now if there were any, but they haven’t. Reason 2: red polar bears would lack the camouflaging white adaptation that white polar bears have, in a world of snow.]

There is a debate in the Philosophy of Mind about whether mental states are states of something physical. There are two sides to this debate:

physicalists believe that mental states are states of a physical brain. There exists no “mind” apart from the human brain. All mental states (thoughts, feelings, sensory experiences, etc.) are happening in the brain. (By the way, two consequences of this view are that out-of-body experiences are not possible and that humans cannot have an afterlife.)

dualists believe that mental states are states of something non-physical, a separate thing sometimes called a mind or a “soul”, that can exist independent of the brain. (By the way, two consequences of this view are that out-of-body experiences are possible and that humans may possibly have an afterlife. NOTE: dualism does not have to say that out-of-body experiences or the afterlife actually happen — just that they are possible.)

State which side you think has the burden of proof in this debate, and explain your reasons why. And read the following notes.


– you are not being asked which view (1 or 2) you think is true. You are being asked which side has the burden of proof. Be sure to address this question primarily; but it is okay to mention evidence for the views if you need to.

– in this DQ we have not stated what evidence or arguments are offered by either side for their view. (We have just stated the view.) You will need to rely on your knowledge of these views, or do a little research and see which side seems to you most in need of some solid evidence.

When you respond to a fellow student’s response, you need to dispute some point that another student made, and to give reasons for your response. Don’t just say something like “I disagree with his or her response.” Be respectful: the goal is to have an enlightening debate

The other students post is in the file to respond toPlease answer the questions above for the discussion question then respond to the other student from in the file upload

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