The Problem of Dualism: The Self as a Cultural Exaptation


Author: Israel Salas Llanas, Autonomous University of Madrid, Spain / Osaka University, Japan

Published: October 13, 2017

Citation: Llanas, I. S. (2017). The Problem of Dualism: The Self as a Cultural Exaptation. IAFOR Journal of Ethics, Religion & Philosophy, 3(2).


Human mind has undergone a complex evolution throughout the history of our genus, Homo. The brain structures and processes that make this mental activity possible have been the result of a series of evolutionary patterns not only biological but also cultural, so it is possible to assume that consciousness did not emerge with the same characteristics in our predecessors. One of the most distinctive features that reflects the conscious image of the archaic man is the absence of a dualistic interpretation of reality. This apparition stem from our analytical mind as an exaptation, commonly assigned to the activity of the left hemisphere which is attributed to play a greater role in linguistic activity.

This paper introduces the idea that, along with other abilities such as linguistic predisposition, spatial perception and pattern recognition, human beings are also born with an innate tendency to interpret and represent the surrounding world in antithetical terms, that is, in antinomies. The idea of Self as an exaptation arises from the cultural development of our species closely influenced by the ripening of our cognitive structures and the evolution of human natural language. This illusory perception of a Self also conditions scientific activity, giving birth to a new form of knowledge that attributes a new value judgment to man and life.


antinomies, consciousness, dualism, exaptation, self