Subtle bodies -- Difference -- Subtle subjects of desire -- "Seering" desire : the between -- Inhabiting sight -- Durée : the aesthetics of desired time -- An ethics of emptiness -- Witnessing : detached immersion -- An ethics of grace : the law of desiring angels -- Conclusion : the angelic ternary.
How the Body Shapes the Mind is an interdisciplinary work that addresses philosophical questions by appealing to evidence found in experimental psychology, neuroscience, studies of pathologies, and developmental psychology. There is a growing consensus across these disciplines that the contribution of embodiment to cognition is inescapable. Because this insight has been developed across a variety of disciplines, however, there is still a need to develop a common vocabulary that is capable of integrating discussions of brain mechanisms in neuroscience, behavioral (...) expressions in psychology, design concerns in artificial intelligence and robotics, and debates about embodied experience in the phenomenology and philosophy of mind. Shaun Gallagher's book aims to contribute to the formulation of that common vocabulary and to develop a conceptual framework that will avoid both the overly reductionistic approaches that explain everything in terms of bottom-up neuronal mechanisms, and inflationistic approaches that explain everything in terms of Cartesian, top-down cognitive states. (shrink)
In his Meditations, Rene Descartes asks, "what am I?" His initial answer is "a man." But he soon discards it: "But what is a man? Shall I say 'a rational animal'? No: for then I should inquire what an animal is, what rationality is, and in this way one question would lead down the slope to harder ones." Instead of understanding what a man is, Descartes shifts to two new questions: "What is Mind?" and "What is Body?" These questions (...) develop into Descartes's main philosophical preoccupation: the Mind-Body distinction. How can Mind and Body be independent entities, yet joined--essentially so--within a single human being? If Mind and Body are really distinct, are human beings merely a "construction"? On the other hand, if we respect the integrity of humans, are Mind and Body merely aspects of a human being and not subjects in and of themselves? For centuries, philosophers have considered this classic philosophical puzzle. Now, in this compact, engaging, and long-awaited work UCLA philosopher Joseph Almog closely decodes the French philosopher's argument for distinguishing between the human mind and body while maintaining simultaneously their essential integration in a human being. He argues that Descartes constructed a solution whereby the trio of Human Mind, Body, and Being are essentially interdependent yet remain each a genuine individual subject. Almog's reading not only steers away from the most popular interpretations of Descartes, but also represents a scholar coming to grips directly with Descartes himself. In doing so, Almog creates a work that Cartesian scholars will value, and that will also prove indispensable to philosophers of language, ontology, and the metaphysics of mind. (shrink)
Intuitions based on the first-person perspective can easily mislead us about what is and is not conceivable.1 This point is usually made in support of familiar reductionist positions on the mind-body problem, but I believe it can be detached from that approach. It seems to me that the powerful appearance of contingency in the relation between the functioning of the physical organism and the conscious mind -- an appearance that depends directly or indirectly on the first- person perspective -- (...) must be an illusion. But the denial of this contingency should not take the form of a reductionist account of consciousness of the usual type, whereby the logical gap between the mental and the physical is closed by conceptual analysis -- in effect, by analyzing the mental in terms of the physical (however elaborately this is done -- and I count functionalism as such a theory, along with the topic-neutral causal role analyses of mental concepts from which it descends). (shrink)
[p. 259] After establishing his own existence by the Cogito argument, Descartes inquires into the nature of the self that he claims to know with certainty to exist. He concludes that he is a res cogitans, an unextended entity whose essence is to be conscious. Although a considerable amount of critical effort has been expended in attempts to show how he thought he could move to this important conclusion, his reasoning has remained quite unconvincing. In particular, his critics have insisted, (...) and I think quite rightly, that his claim to be "entirely and absolutely distinct"[i] from his body is not justified by the reasoning which he offers in its support.[ii] Nevertheless, I also believe that the proffered criticisms of Descartes. (shrink)
* Argument from authoritative self-knowledge ("privileged access" to one's own mental states) 1. We have a "privileged access" to our own mental states in the sense we have the authority on what mental states we are in. 2. Through introspection, we are aware of our mental states but not aware of them as physical states of any sort or as functional states. 3. Therefore, our mental states cannot be physical states.
In his "Meditations on First Philosophy", Descartes argues for there being a radical difference between mind and body. Yet, we know that mind and body interest. How is this possible? Descartes's answer tothis question is that human nature is a "substantial union" of mind and body. In this essay, Descartes's solution is explained and critically examined.
At the very heart of the mind-body problem is the question of the nature of consciousness. It is consciousness, and in particular _phenomenal_ consciousness, that makes the mind-body relation so deeply perplexing. Many philosophers hold that no defi nition of phenomenal consciousness is possible: any such putative defi nition would automatically use the concept of phenomenal consciousness and thus render the defi nition circular. The usual view is that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is one that must be (...) explained by means of specifi c examples and associated comments. (shrink)
One of the most influential thinkers of the 20th century, Sir Karl Popper here examines the problems connected with human freedom, creativity, rationality and the relationship between human beings and their actions. In this illuminating series of papers, Popper suggests a theory of mind-body interaction that relates to evolutionary emergence, human language and what he calls "the three worlds." Rene; Descartes first posited the existence of two worlds--the world of physical bodies and the world of mental states. Popper argues (...) for the existence of "world 3" which comprises the products of our human minds. He examines the interaction between mental states--hopes, needs, plans, ideologies or hypotheses--and the physical states of our brain. Popper forcefully argues against the materialism forwarded by many philosophers which denies the existence of mental states. Instead, he demonstrates that the problem of the interaction between mental and physical states remains unresolved. Knowledge and the Body-Mind Problem is based on Popper's never-before published lectures at Emory University in 1969. Popper has extensively revised the lectures but has retained their accessible format. He has also incorporated some of the discussions which followed the lectures, providing an engaging exchange between the philosopher and his audience. (shrink)
This collection of new essays put the debates on the mind-body problem into historical context. The discussions range from Aristotle, Aquinas and Descartes to the origins of the qualia and intentionality.
Merleau-Ponty developed a phenomenology of the body that promoted a non-dualistic account of human existence. In this paper I intend to develop Merleau-Ponty's analysis further by questioning his account of the body on the issues of body perception, and the body's relation to its environment. To clarify these issues I draw from both the phenomenological tradition and recent psychological investigations.
Descartes argued that the passions of the soul were immediately felt in the body, as the animal spirits, affected by the movement of the pineal gland, spread through the body. In Leibniz the effect of emotions in the body is a different question as he did not allow the direct interaction between the mind and the body, although maintaining a psychophysical parallelism between them. -/- In general, he avoids discussing emotions in bodily terms, saying that general (...) inclinations, passions, pleasures and pains belong only to the mind or to the soul (NE II, xxi, §72). He is also keen to point out that our passions derive mostly from our bodies. However, like Spinoza (Ethics III, prop. XI, Scholium) he thought that some emotions such as joy can produce pleasures which can be described also in bodily terms. For example, in a short memoir Felicity he says that music can be a pleasure for the ears and symmetry can be a pleasure for the eyes. These more intellectual emotions are actions in the sense that they represent perfection emanating from their source, the absolutely perfect being, that is, God. The feeling of perfection may produce a state of well-being which concerns both the soul and the body. -/- In my paper I will trace instances of Leibniz’s remarks on how these kind of emotions affect the body. I will also discuss the different ways the body gives rise to passions in the soul. My primary source is Nouveaux essais, book II, chapter xx and xxi, but I will also discuss various other writings by Leibniz. (shrink)
It is widely held that the current debate on the mind-body problem in analytic philosophy began during the 1950s at two distinct sources: one in America, de- riving from Herbert Feigl's writings, and the other in Australia, related to writings by U. T. Place and J. J. C. Smart (Feigl  1967). Jaegwon Kim recently wrote that "it was the papers by Smart and Feigl that introduced the mind-body problem as a mainstream metaphysical Problematik of analytical philosophy, and (...) launched the debate that has continued to this day" (Kim 1998, 1). Nonetheless, it is not at all obvious why these particular articles sparked a debate, nor why Feigl's work in particular came to play such a prominent part in it, nor how and to what extent Feigl's approach rests on the logical empiricism he endorsed. (shrink)
The Mind/Body Problem (M/BP) is about causation not correlation. And its solution (if there is one) will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show how/why M (...) is not supererogatory; and that's the hard part. (shrink)
The idea that we may continue to exist in a bodiless condition after our death has long played an important role in beliefs about immortality, ultimate rewards and punishments, the transmigration of souls, and the like. There has also been long and heated disagreement about whether the idea of disembodied existence even makes sense, let alone whether anybody can or does survive dissolution of his material form. It may seem doubtful that anything new could be added to the debate at (...) this late date, but I hope to show that this is not so. I will explore the problem of disembodiment from a somewhat different direction than has been tried before, one that leads to what seem to me more interesting and more definite conclusions about its unintelligibility. Furthermore, the approach I will be taking puts both the traditional mind-body problem and the competing claims of dualism and physicalism in a fresh light that can help us to understand better the nature of our embodied existence. (shrink)
It has been suggested that our experiences of embodiment in general appear to constitute an experiential ground for dualist philosophy and that this is particularly so with experiences of dissociation, in which one feels estranged from one’s body. Thus, Drew Leder argues that these play “a crucial role in encouraging and supporting Cartesian dualism” as they “seem to support the doctrine of an immaterial mind trapped inside an alien body”. In this paper I argue that as dualism does (...) not capture the character of such experiences there is not even an apparent separation of self and body revealed here and that one’s body is experienced as uncanny rather than alien. The general relationship between our philosophical theorizing and the phenomenology of lived experience is also considered. (shrink)
Abstract: What grounds the experience of our body as our own? Can we rationally doubt that this is our own body when we feel sensations in it? This article shows how recent empirical evidence can shed light on issues on the body and the self, such as the grounds of the sense of body ownership and the immunity to error through misidentification of bodily self-ascriptions. In particular, it discusses how bodily illusions (e.g., the Rubber Hand Illusion), (...) bodily disruptions (e.g., somatoparaphrenia), and the multimodal nature of bodily self-knowledge challenge a classic view of ownership and immunity that puts bodily sensations at its core. (shrink)
I argue that, contrary to how he is often read, Spinoza did not believe that the mind and the body were numerically identical. This means that we must find some alternative reading for his claims that they are 'one and the same thing' (I describe three such alternative readings).
Traditionally, what we are conscious of in self-consciousness is something non-corporeal. But anti-Cartesian philosophers argue that the self is as much corporeal as it is mental. Because we have the sense of proprioception, a kind of body awareness, we are immediately aware of ourselves as bodies in physical space. In this debate the case histories of patients who have lost their sense of proprioception are clearly relevant. These patients do retain an awareness of themselves as corporeal beings, although they (...) hardly feel their bodies (they have normal sensation in the head, but from the neck downwards only sensations of pain and temperature, and of fatigue and deep touch). They can initiate movements, and with the help of visual feedback learn to control them. It is shown that the traditional view of the self as immaterial is not supported by these cases. But the argument against this view has to be amended. It relies too much on bodily sensations, and misses the importance of active self-movement. (shrink)
This paper investigates the role of a pre-existing body-model that is an enabling constraint for the incorporation of objects into the body. This body-model is also a basis for the distinction between body extensions (e.g., in the case of tool-use) and incorporation (e.g., in the case of successful prosthesis use). It is argued that, in the case of incorporation, changes in the sense of body-ownership involve a reorganization of the body-model, whereas extension of the (...)body with tools does not involve changes in the sense of body-ownership. (shrink)
In the article, I propose that the body phantom is a phenomenal and functional model of one’s own body. This model has two aspects. On the one hand, it functions as a tacit sensory representation of the body that is at the same time related to the motor aspects of body functioning. On the other hand, it also has a phenomenal aspect as it constitutes the content of conscious bodily experience. This sort of tacit, functional and (...) sensory model is related to the spatial parameters of the physical body. In the article, I postulate that this functional model or map is of crucial importance to the felt ownership parameters of the body (de Vignemont 2007), which are themselves considered as constituting the phenomenal aspect of the aforementioned model. (shrink)
Contemporary theories of self-consciousness typically begin by dividing experiences of the self into types, each requiring separate explanation. The stereotypical case of an out of body experience (OBE) may be seen to suggest a distinction between the sense of oneself as an experiencing subject, a mental entity, and a sense of oneself as an embodied person, a bodily entity. Point of view, in the sense of the place from which the subject seems to experience the world, in this case (...) is tied to the sense of oneself as a mental entity and seems to be the ‘real’ self. Closer reading of reports, however, suggests a substantially more complicated picture. For example, the ‘real’ self that is experienced as separate from the body in an OBE is not necessarily experienced as disembodied. Subjects may experience themselves as having two bodies. In cases classed as heautoscopy there is considerable confusion regarding the apparent location of the experiencing subject; is it the ‘real mind’ in the body I seem to be looking out from, or is it in the body that I see? This suggests that visual point of view can dissociate from the experience of one’s own “real mind” or experience of self-identification. I provide a tripartite distinction between the sense of ownership, the sense of embodiment and the sense of subjectivity to better describe these experiences. The phenomenology of OBEs suggests that there are three distinct forms of self-consciousness which need to be explained. (shrink)
Assuming that the qualities of immediate experience ('sentience') are the subjective aspect of the neurophysiological cerebral processes, And assuming that all behavior is ultimately susceptible to physical explanation, There are a number of ways in which mind-Body monism can be stated. But there are also a number of serious difficulties for a logically coherent formulation of the identity thesis of the mental and the physical.
Dreyfus presents Todes's (2001) republished Body and World as an anticipatory response to McDowell (1994) which shows how preconceptual perception can ground conceptual thought. I argue that Dreyfus is mistaken on this point: Todes's claim that perceptual experience is preconceptual presupposes an untenable account of conceptual thought. I then show that Todes nevertheless makes two important contributions to McDowell's project. First, he develops an account of perception as bodily second nature, and as a practical-perceptual openness to the world, which (...) constructively develops McDowell's view. Second, and more important, this account highlights the practical and perceptual dimension of linguistic competence. The result is that perception is conceptual "all the way down" only because discursive conceptualization is perceptual and practical "all the way up". This conjunction of McDowell and Todes on the bodily dimensions of discursive practice also vindicates Davidson's and Brandom's criticisms of McDowell's version of empiricism. (shrink)
I argue that Descartes treated the action of body on mind differently from the action of mind on body, as was common in the period. Descartes explicitly denied that there is a problem for interaction but his descriptions of interaction seem to suggest that he thought there was a problem. I argue that these descriptions are motivated by a different issue, the seemingly arbitrary connections between particular physical states and the particular mental states they produce. Within scholasticism there (...) was already a (yet different) problem concerning action of body on mind. I offer a comparison between Descartes and the scholastics. (shrink)
Paper given at the 20th Biennial Meeting of the Hegel Society of America, University of South Carolina, October 24-26, 2008 -/- The local problem of the soul-body relation can be grasped only against the global background of the relation between Nature and Spirit. This relates to Hegel's naturalism: the idea that there is one single reality - living reality - and different levels of description of it. This implies, moreover, that it is possible to ascribe some form of naturality (...) also to the social body of institutionalized ethical life. Hegel’s position can thus be characterised as a kind of aristotelian social naturalism: this, at bottom, is the combined meaning of the Hegelian theses that soul is the substance of Spirit, and habit its universal form. (shrink)
The sense of embodiment is vital for self recognition. An examination of anosognosia for hemiplegia—the inability to recognise that one is paralysed down one side of one’s body—suggests the existence of ‘online’ and ‘offline’ representations of the body. Online representations of the body are representations of the body as it is currently, are newly constructed moment by moment and are directly “plugged into” current perception of the body. In contrast, offline representations of the body (...) are representations of what the body is usually like, are relatively stable and are constructed from online representations. This distinction is supported by an analysis of phantom limb—the feeling that an amputated limb is still present—phenomena. Initially it seems that the sense of embodiment may arise from either of these types of representation; however, an integrated representation of the body seems to be required. It is suggested information from vision and emotions is involved in generating these representations. A lack of access to online representations of the body does not necessarily lead to a loss in the sense of embodiment. An integrated offline representation of the body could account for the sense of embodiment and perform the functions attributed to this sense. (shrink)
I here address Descartes' account of human nature as a union of mind and body by appealing to The Passions of the Soul. I first show that Descartes takes us to be able to reform the naturally instituted associations between bodily and mental states. I go on to argue that Descartes offers a teleological explanation of body-mind associations (those instituted both by nature and by artifice). This explanation sheds light on the ontological status of the union. I suggest (...) that it affords a way of understanding how mind and body form a true unit without compromising Descartes' dualism. (shrink)
This paper contrasts two approaches to the mind-body problem and the possibility of mental causation: the conceptual approach advocated by Collingwood/Dray and the metaphysical approach advocated by Davidson. On the conceptual approach to show that mental causation is possible is equivalent to demonstrating that mentalistic explanations possess a different logical structure from naturalistic explanations. On the metaphysical approach to show that mental causation is possible entails explaining how the mind can intelligibly be accommodated within a physicalist universe. I argue (...) that the conceptual approach offers a much more powerful defence of the autonomy of the mental. (shrink)
De Vignemont argues that the sense of ownership comes from the localization of bodily sensation on a map of the body that is part of the body schema. This model should be taken as a model of the sense of embodiment. I argue that the body schema lacks the theoretical resources needed to explain this phenomenology. Furthermore, there is some reason to think that a deficient sense of embodiment is not associated with a deficient body schema. (...) The data de Vignemont uses to argue that the body image does not underlie the sense of embodiment does not rule out the possibility that part of the body image I call 'offline representations' underlies the sense of embodiment. An alternative model of the sense of embodiment in terms of offline representations of the body is presented. (shrink)
We argue that no sharp boundary can be drawn between the ``authentic'' human body and its instruments. In contrast to some other theorists of the continental canon--notably Heidegger and the Frankfurt school--Sartre and Merleau-Ponty can be read as asserting that the body (transitively) ``lives'' its instruments, weaving with them an intricate web of habitual actions and experiences. For Merleau-Ponty especially, the human body and its instruments are capable of complementing, supplementing, and melting into one another.
In this paper I analyze Descartes's puzzling claim that the mind is whole in the whole body and whole in its parts, what Henry More called "holenmerism". I explain its historical background, in particular in scholasticism. I argue that like his predecessors, Descartes uses the idea for two purposes, for mind-body interaction and for the union of body and mind.
The mind-body problem arises because of our status as double agents apparently en rapport both with the mental and with the physical. We think, desire, decide, plan, suffer passions, fall into moods, are subject to sensory experiences, ostensibly perceive, intend, reason, make believe, and so on. We also move, have a certain geographical position, a certain height and weight, and we are sometimes hit or cut or burned. In other words, human beings have both minds and bodies. What is (...) the relation between these? Religion often tells us that we are really embodied souls released at death from our bodily prisons. Could this be right? (shrink)
This first extensive study of Spinoza's philosophy of mind concentrates on two problems crucial to the philosopher's thoughts on the matter: the requirements for having a thought about a particular object, and the problem of the mind's relation to the body. Della Rocca contends that Spinoza's positions are systematically connected with each other and with a principle at the heart of his metaphysical system: his denial of causal or explanatory relations between the mental and the physical. In this way, (...) Della Rocca's exploration of these two problems provides a new and illuminating perspective on Spinoza's philosophy as a system. (shrink)
This paper challenges the view, commonly held inbiolaw and bioethics, that there can be no proprietaryrights in our own bodies or body parts. Whether thestarting point is the post-intervention informedconsent regime of Article 22 of the Convention ofHuman Rights and Biomedicine or the traditional(exclusionary) understanding of private property it isargued that property in our own bodies or body partsis presupposed. Although these arguments do notdemonstrate that there is property of this kind (forthat, a full-scale justification of the institution (...) ofprivate property would be required), they suggestnevertheless that the commonly held view has animmanent property logic that has not yet been drawnout or appreciated. (shrink)