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Abstract

There has in recent years been a significant surge of interest in non-materialist accounts of the mind. Property dualists hold that all substances (concrete particulars that persist over time) are material, but mental properties are distinct from physical properties. Substance dualists maintain that the mind or person is a non-material substance. This article considers the prospects for substance dualism given the current state of the debate. The best known type of substance dualism, Cartesian dualism, has traditionally faced a number of objections, but many contemporary philosophers have sought to avoid these by formulating novel versions of the view. I identify three central claims held in common by all forms of substance dualism, consider recent arguments for these claims, and assess how successfully different types of substance dualism respond to the traditional objections. I argue that most contemporary forms of the view still face one or more of three major challenges, from bundle theories of the self, from the recently developed “phenomenal concepts strategy”, and from worries about explanatory simplicity.