The problem of how to label Mormon philosophical and theological views is a perennial one, but an issue that must be treated. Mormon scholars have debated the propriety of using terms like infinite, finite, monotheism, henotheism, polytheism, modalism, binitarianism, etc. The list goes on.
Scholarly communities advance and pool together their knowledge by using shared and common terms. Essentially we talk with one another using a common language. Disputes over labeling Mormonism are inevitable and will persist for the unforeseeable future. At worst, the very terms we use to talk with each other have built-in interpretations and often can skew more precise discourse. How accurate or useful is Cartesian in describing the dualism of B.H. Roberts or in Mormon thought generally? Are there dangers of confusion? What qualifications might be necessary?
In the realm of Mormon metaphysics, Sterling McMurrin makes the following observation:
Mormonism teaches a strict numerical dualism of the spirit and the body; through they are both material, they are two different entities. But the dualism is in number degree only and not in the fundamental quality or character of reality, a fact which distinguishes the Mormon position from the typical mind-body dualism that has typified Protestant thought, for instance, since Descartes. . . . It is important to recognize that the mind-body problem, the question of the nature of the soul or spirit and the body and the relation between them, has been a major metaphysical issue in occidental religious thought since the earliest Christian centuries. The Mormon treatment of this problem, which is radically unorthodox when judged by either Catholic or Protestant thought, nevertheless conforms to the general pattern of Christian theology, that the soul or spirit is immortal though the body is subject to death.1