Definition of dualism in English:



mass noun
  • 1The division of something conceptually into two opposed or contrasted aspects, or the state of being so divided.

    ‘a dualism between man and nature’
    • ‘This kind of thing may be looking for dualisms where there aren't any.’
    • ‘These dualisms never resolve, never let us have a simple view of the style or subject of the picture.’
    • ‘Cortes discouraged the tendency in education to think in dualisms, suggesting that media educators learn to re-frame questions so students understand they are not simply being charged with finding examples of forgone conclusions.’
    • ‘Haraway has told us the power of ‘cyborg imagery’ lies in its ability to ‘suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves’.’
    • ‘Combining streamlined efficiency with abstract decadence, American Art Deco reconciled these societal dualisms.’
    • ‘Young children's depictions move beyond dualisms and underscore how we can rid the world of oppression.’
    • ‘Dropping those dualisms, he believes, will allow psychology to develop a more nuanced view of human behavior.’
    • ‘Curry also suggests that Western mind-body dualisms, formalised at a Church Council of 869, helped astrology's decline as it is both subjective and objective and does not fit easily into this schema.’
    • ‘When we want to emphasise their difference, we create dualisms and classify animals under the one headline 'animal'.’
    • ‘This is so because, in the Pauline view, reality is not viewed in terms of sharply contrasting ontological or epistemological dualisms.’
    • ‘The differences between science and theology can become fruitful as long as we avoid the great frozen dualisms.’
    • ‘These dualisms - love and power, service and control, lay and clerical, to mention only a few that recur in the book - are far too easy.’
    • ‘Yet theories that endorse the implosion and blurring of the traditionally drawn boundaries between conventionally accepted dualisms are not necessarily postmodern.’
    • ‘What is more, the Internet, as a form of a material culture, has worked to render other dualisms, especially that of production and consumption, ‘anachronistic’.’
    • ‘To some extent this reflects a fundamental feature of Western medicine, heir as it is to body-mind and mind-society dualisms.’
    • ‘I ask for them to see past their dualisms and embrace multiplicity.’
    • ‘Binary coding is culturally salient because Andean social organization and conceptual systems are primarily structured in dualisms.’
    • ‘Increasingly, evidence suggests that stereotypes and dualisms around young people's victimisation, and the fears of parents and other adults, need to be dispelled.’
    • ‘Those dualisms are still deeply ingrained in common sense, which is why pragmatism is so counterintuitive.’
    • ‘We should be working to deconstruct and eliminate such reactionary dualisms and recognize that the oppression of humans and non-humans is tied-up in the same logic of domination.’
    1. 1.1Philosophy A theory or system of thought that regards a domain of reality in terms of two independent principles, especially mind and matter (Cartesian dualism).
      Compare with idealism, materialism, monism
      • ‘However, typically, ‘metaphysics’ refers to broad theories of reality, such as materialism and dualism, and to broad issues regarding the nature of reality.’
      • ‘This Cudworth therefore interpreted Descartes' dualism with some latitude to explain all movement, life and action in terms of the activity of spirits operating on inert matter.’
      • ‘It would be an interesting historical task to determine which kinds of dualism advocated by the philosophers of the past fall into which category, but there is no room for this task here.’
      • ‘Hence dualism itself does not preclude animal minds.’
      • ‘Issues raised include the mind-body relation, materialism and dualism, the Cartesian view of matter, and the relations between religious beliefs and parapsychology.’
    2. 1.2 The religious doctrine that the universe contains opposed powers of good and evil, especially seen as balanced equals.
      • ‘He discussed the philosophy of mathematics, political philosophy where topics such as censorship are discussed, and religious philosophy where topics such as atheism, dualism and pantheism are considered.’
      • ‘Such dualism, which in effect consigns the Other to perdition, is in modernity often a characteristic of fundamentalisms.’
      • ‘This runs contrary to the Zoroastrian doctrine of dualism, which propounds the idea of two conflicting powers - good and evil.’
      • ‘That Persian religious dualism became the foundation of an ethical system that has lasted until this day.’
      • ‘I think the debate is - and should be - between two different forms of dualism: secular dualism and religious dualism.’
    3. 1.3 (in Christian theology) the doctrine that Christ had two coexisting natures, human and divine.
      • ‘Clearly, that would be a contemporary form of Manichean dualism amounting to a denial of God's lordship, power, and redemption.’
  • 2The quality or condition of being dual; duality.

    • ‘As scenes in the fast moving episodes unfold, the music reconciles difference and similarity; it suggests dualism and unexplored complexity.’
    • ‘There was an interesting dichotomy between Samantha and Charly, almost like a dualism between femininity and masculinity.’
    • ‘A similar dualism, a kind of double vision of the world is typical also for Ihan's poetry, which often brushes against the borders of poetic prose.’
    doubleness, duplexity, ambivalence
    View synonyms


Late 18th century: from dual, on the pattern of French dualisme.