According to Descartes that gland is the principal seat of the soul and the place from which all thought originates.
A thousand years before Descartes, Plato said that the body is from the material world and that the soul is from the world of ideas and, therefore, inmortal. When the body dies the soul joins the universe and never dies, always according to Plato.
Back to Descartes, the senses perceive things and send it to that pineal gland, and from there to the inmaterial spirit (right). That´s Cartesian dualism in simple terms.
Neat, no? But, what do you think?
Descartes is very much “Western” thought.
Look at what “Eastern” thought says at http://youtu.be/cAITqbxeyx8
So, now vest yourself with some philosophical robe and in 275 words or more respond to the following questions:
1. How would you summarize what Descartes and Plato are saying? Do you make any connections to previously held beliefs about the nature of body and soul?
2. If you had to choose between “Western” and “Eastern” thought, as very superficially described above, which one would you choose? Why?
3. Why would it matter if body and soul are one, or separate entities? What are the possible implications for living if they are one or separate entities? What would you rather have, a dualist world or a monist world?