David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
In Robert Barnard Neil Manson (ed.), Continuum Companion to Metaphysics (2012)
The enduring metaphysical question about minds and mental phenomena concerns their nature. At least since Descartes this question—the mind-body problem—has been understood in terms of the viability or necessity of mind-body dualism, the thesis that minds and bodies are essentially distinct kinds of substance. Assuming that the nonmental (‘body’) portions of the world are constituted of physical stuff, the remaining question is: Are minds or mental phenomena essentially distinct non-physical substances, or phenomena that essentially involve such distinct kinds of substances? By the middle of the Twentieth Century there was broad philosophical and scientific consensus that the answer to this classical question about minds is negative: Minds and mental phenomena are not essentially distinct substances, nor are they phenomena that essentially involve distinct kinds of substances. There are at least two broad trends and one specific argument that lead to this conclusion. One trend is the decreasing influence of specifically theological arguments and commitments in philosophical argumentation, so that religious belief in immortal souls was no longer given much weight in the ontology of mind. The second trend, perhaps related to the first, is the increased demand that metaphysical theories bear explanatory fruits, so that the postulation of an immaterial and essentially mental substance appears to be a abdication from explanatory duties rather than a useful proposal. The argument, known to Descartes from the very beginning, is that there has never been an adequate account of 1 how two essentially distinct and incompatible substances could causally interact.1 Descartes’ solution was inadequate and brute, and his followers struggled with the problem—leading to Leibniz’s parallelism and Malebranche’s occasionalism, among other views. The problem of mental causation, then, is the central difficulty that underines substance dualism.2 The negative answer on the question of substance dualism, however, only increases the pressure for some monistic account of the nature of minds..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Robert Hanna (2009). Embodied Minds in Action. Oxford University Press.
Richard Swinburne (2009). Substance Dualism. Faith and Philosophy 26 (5):501 - 513.
J. Almog (2001). What Am I?: Descartes and the Mind-Body Problem. Oxford University Press.
C. B. Martin (2007). The Mind in Nature. Oup Oxford.
Boris Hennig (2008). Substance, Reality, and Distinctness. Prolegomena 7 (1):2008.
David M. Rosenthal (1994). The Identity Theory. In Samuel D. Guttenplan (ed.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.
Jonathan Bennett (1965). A Note on Descartes and Spinoza. Philosophical Review 74 (3):379-380.
David M. Rosenthal (1998). Dualism. In E. Craig (ed.), Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Routledge.
Added to index2010-08-19
Total downloads49 ( #37,622 of 1,140,267 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #86,093 of 1,140,267 )
How can I increase my downloads?