Mens Sana Monographs
: 2016  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 141--151

The Problem of Dualism in Modern Western Medicine

Mathew H Gendle 
 Department of Psychology, Elon University, Elon, NC, USA

Correspondence Address:
Mathew H Gendle
Elon University, 2675 Campus Box, Elon, NC, 27244

Dualism is historically important in that it allowed the medical practice to be divorced from church oversight. The reductionist approaches of modern Western medicine facilitate a dispassionate and mechanistic approach to patient care, and dualist views promoted by complementary and alternative medicine are also problematic. Behavioural disorders are multifactorally realizable and emerge apparently chaotically from interactions between internal physiological systems and the patient's environment and experiential history. Conceptualizations of behavioural disorders that are based on dualism deny the primacy of individual physiology in the generation of pathology and distract from therapies that are most likely to produce positive outcomes. Behavioural health professionals should adopt holistic models of patient care, but these models must be based on methodologies that emphasize radical emergence over the artificial separation of the “physical” and “mental.” This will allow for the humanistic practice of medicine while simultaneously maximizing the likelihood of treatment success.

How to cite this article:
Gendle MH. The Problem of Dualism in Modern Western Medicine.Mens Sana Monogr 2016;14:141-151

How to cite this URL:
Gendle MH. The Problem of Dualism in Modern Western Medicine. Mens Sana Monogr [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 May 25 ];14:141-151
Available from:;year=2016;volume=14;issue=1;spage=141;epage=151;aulast=Gendle;type=0