The context for these interviews was a seminar [Peter Gratton] conducted on speculative realism in the Spring 2010. There has been great interest in speculative realism and one reason Gratton surmise[s] is not just the arguments offered, though [Gratton doesn't] want to take away from them; each of these scholars are vivid writers and great pedagogues, many of whom are in constant contact with their readers via their weblogs. Thus these interviews provided an opportunity to forward student questions about their (...) respective works. Though each were conducted on different occasions, the interviews stand as a collected work, tying together the most classical questions about “realism” to ancillary movements about the non-human in politics, ecology, aesthetics, and video gaming—all to point to future movements in this philosophical area. (shrink)
I shall present a problem about accountability, and its solution by Strawson’s ‘Freedom and Resentment’. Some readers of this don’t see it as a profound contribution to moral philosophy, and I want to help them. It may be helpful to follow up Strawson’s gracefully written discussion with a more staccato presentation. My treatment will also be angled somewhat differently from his, so that its lights and shadows will fall with a certain difference, which may make it serviceable even to the (...) converted. Also, I shall point to some disputable things in ‘Freedom and Resentment’, and offer repairs. So I wrote in the first published version of this paper. I wanted not only to be useful to others but also to elicit Strawson’s certificate of approval; and that hope was realized. In his ‘Reply’ Strawson wrote: ‘Bennett in the first eleven sections of his essay sets out and elaborates the essence of my position with such thorough and sympathetic understanding as to leave me little to say.’ I also tried, unsuccessfully, to analyse with more precision Strawson’s concept of reactive attitude, and to explore the extent of and reasons for the incompatibility between reactive attitudes and the objective attitude. I hoped that the display of my failures would induce Strawson to tackle the problems himself, with more success. No such luck! He wrote: ‘Bennett seeks . . . to produce a tighter and more unified organisation of the phenomena . . . than I achieved in “Freedom and Resentment”’, but he did not return to the fray. On the contrary: ‘It does not seem to me to matter if a strict definition [of ‘reactive’] is not to be had’; and he said nothing about reasons for the reactive/objective conflict. In the present version of the paper, I expound ‘Freedom and Resentment’ much as before. Since my attempts to tighten and deepen the theory failed to hook Strawson, and are not of much intrinsic interest, I now omit them. I shall, however, add an application of the doctrines of ‘Freedom and Resentment’ to the most basic philosophical question regarding punishment.. (shrink)
In this illuminating, highly engaging book, Jonathan Bennett acquaints us with the ideas of six great thinkers of the early modern period: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, and Hume. For newcomers to the early modern scene, this lucidly written work is an excellent introduction. For those already familiar with the time period, this book offers insight into the great philosophers, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, students, and teachers.
Christopher Bennett presents a theory of punishment grounded in the practice of apology, and in particular in reactions such as feeling sorry and making amends. He argues that offenders have a 'right to be punished' - that it is part of taking an offender seriously as a member of a normatively demanding relationship (such as friendship or collegiality or citizenship) that she is subject to retributive attitudes when she violates the demands of that relationship. However, while he claims that (...) punishment and the retributive attitudes are the necessary expression of moral condemnation, his account of these reactions has more in common with restorative justice than traditional retributivism. He argues that the most appropriate way to react to crime is to require the offender to make proportionate amends. His book is a rich and original contribution to the debate over punishment and restorative justice. (shrink)
Conditional sentences are among the most intriguing and puzzling features of language, and analysis of their meaning and function has important implications for, and uses in, many areas of philosophy. Jonathan Bennett, one of the world's leading experts, distils many years' work and teaching into this Philosophical Guide to Conditionals, the fullest and most authoritative treatment of the subject. An ideal introduction for undergraduates with a philosophical grounding, it also offers a rich source of illumination and stimulation for graduate (...) students and professional philosophers. (shrink)
In earlier work we have described how computer algebra may be used to derive composite rate laws for complete systems of equations, using the mathematical technique of Gröbner Bases (Bennett, Davenport and Sauro, 1988). Such composite rate laws may then be fitted to experimental data to yield estimates of kinetic parameters.Recently we have been investigating the practical application of this methodology to the estimation of kinetic parameters for the closed two enzyme system of aspartate aminotransferase (AAT) and malate dehydrogenase (...) (MDH) (Fisher 1990a; Fisher 1990b; Bennett and Fisher, 1990). (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction - when criminal law encounters bioethics: a case of tensions and incompatibilities or an apt forum for resolving ethical conflict? Amel Alghrani, Rebecca Bennett and Suzanne Ost; Part I. Death, Dying, and the Criminal Law: 2. Euthanasia and assisted suicide should, when properly performed by a doctor in an appropriate case, be decriminalised John Griffiths; 3. Five flawed arguments for decriminalising euthanasia John Keown; 4. Euthanasia excused: between prohibition and permission Richard Huxtable; Part (...) II. Freedom and Autonomy: When Consent Is Not Enough: 5. Body integrity identity disorder - a problem of perception? Robert Smith; 6. Risky sex and 'manly diversions': the contours of consent in criminal law - transmission and rough horseplay cases David Gurnham; 7. 'Consensual' sexual activity between doctors and patients: a matter for the criminal law? Suzanne Ost and Hazel Biggs; Part III. Criminalising Biomedical Science: 8. 'Scientists in the dock': regulating science Amel Alghrani and Sarah Chan; 9. Bioethical conflict and developing biotechnologies: is protecting individual and public health from the risks of xenotransplantation a matter for the (criminal) law? Sara Fovargue; 10. The criminal law and enhancement - none of the law's business? Nishat Hyder and John Harris; 11. Dignity as a socially constructed value Stephen Smith; Part IV. Bioethics and Criminal Law in the Dock: 12. Can English law accommodate moral controversy in medicine? The case of abortion Margaret Brazier; 13. The case for decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland Marie Fox; 14. The impact of the loss of deference towards the medical profession Jose; Miola; 15. Criminalising medical negligence David Archard; 16. All to the good? Criminality, politics, and public health John Coggon; 17. Moral controversy, human rights and the common law judge Brenda Hale. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Introduction - when criminal law encounters bioethics: a case of tensions and incompatibilities or an apt forum for resolving ethical conflict? Amel Alghrani, Rebecca Bennett and Suzanne Ost; Part I. Death, Dying, and the Criminal Law: 2. Euthanasia and assisted suicide should, when properly performed by a doctor in an appropriate case, be decriminalised John Griffiths; 3. Five flawed arguments for decriminalising euthanasia John Keown; 4. Euthanasia excused: between prohibition and permission Richard Huxtable; Part (...) II. Freedom and Autonomy: When Consent Is Not Enough: 5. Body integrity identity disorder - a problem of perception? Robert Smith; 6. Risky sex and 'manly diversions': the contours of consent in HIV transmission and rough horseplay cases David Gurnham; 7. 'Consensual' sexual activity between doctors and patients: a matter for the criminal law? Suzanne Ost and Hazel Biggs; Part III. Criminalising Biomedical Science: 8. 'Scientists in the dock': regulating science Amel Alghrani and Sarah Chan; 9. Bioethical conflict and developing biotechnologies: is protecting individual and public health from the risks of xenotransplantation a matter for the (criminal) law? Sara Fovargue; 10. The criminal law and enhancement - none of the law's business? Nishat Hyder and John Harris; 11. Dignity as a socially constructed value Stephen Smith; Part IV. Bioethics and Criminal Law in the Dock: 12. Can English law accommodate moral controversy in medicine? Lessons from abortion Margaret Brazier; 13. The case for decriminalising abortion in Northern Ireland Marie Fox; 14. The impact of the loss of deference towards the medical profession Jose; Miola; 15. Criminalising medical negligence David Archard; 16. All to the good? Criminality, politics, and public health John Coggon; 17. Moral controversy, human rights and the common law judge Brenda Hale. (shrink)
Jonathan Bennett engages with the thought of six great thinkers of the early modern period: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume. While not neglecting the historical setting of each, his chief focus is on the words they wrote. What problem is being tackled? How exactly is the solution meant to work? Does it succeed? If not, why not? What can we learn from its success or its failure? These questions reflect Bennett's dedication to engaging with philosophy as philosophy, (...) not as museum exhibit, and they require a close and demanding attention to textual details; these being two features that characterize all Bennett's work on early modern philosophy. For newcomers to the early modern scene, this clearly written work is an excellent introduction to it. Those already in the know can learn how to argue with the great philosophers of the past, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, students, teachers. -/- Volume 1: In this volume Jonathan Bennett examines the views of Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz on matter and space, the foundations of physics, atomism and alternatives to it, causation, knowledge of necessary truths, how mind relates to body, the nature and significance of human desires, our perception of the material world, and other topics. While exhibiting and celebrating the wonderful breadth, depth, and boldness of the thinking of these philosophers, Bennett also tracks them into the details, where the life is, evaluating their doctrines and arguments on their own merits and in relation to current philosophical problems and interests. (shrink)
Jonathan Bennett engages with the thought of six great thinkers of the early modern period: Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Locke, Berkeley, Hume. While not neglecting the historical setting of each, his chief focus is on the words they wrote. What problem is being tackled? How exactly is the solution meant to work? Does it succeed? If not, why not? What can we learn from its success or its failure? These questions reflect Bennett's dedication to engaging with philosophy as philosophy, (...) not as museum exhibit, and they require a close and demanding attention to textual details; these being two features that characterize all Bennett's work on early modern philosophy. For newcomers to the early modern scene, this clearly written work is an excellent introduction to it. Those already in the know can learn how to argue with the great philosophers of the past, treating them as colleagues, antagonists, students, teachers. -/- Volume 2: In this volume Jonathan Bennett examines the views of Locke, Berkeley, and Hume on thought and sensation, meaning, language, classification, innate ideas and knowledge, our knowledge of necessary truths (bringing in Descartes and Leibniz as well), the basis for our belief that we live in a world of material things, causation, the fundamental difference between colours and shapes, the passage of time and our ability to live through it. While finding much to criticize, Bennett shows that we can learn much about these and other topics under the guidance and inspiration of the energy, courage, and insight of these three great British philosophers. (shrink)
Principles and the context, by J. C. Bennett.--Love monism, by J. M. Gustafson.--Responsibility in freedom, by E. C. Gardner.--The new morality, by G. Fackre.--When love becomes excarnate, by H. L. Smith.--Situational morality, by R. W. Gleason.--The nature of heresy, by G. Kennedy.--Situation ethics under fire, by J. Fletcher.
In this major new book, the internationally renowned thinker Jonathan Bennett offers a deeper understanding of what is going on in our own moral thoughts about human behavior. The Act Itself presents a conceptual analysis of descriptions of behavior on which we base our moral judgements, and shows that this analysis can be used as a means toward getting more control of our thoughts and thus of our lives.
Dualists think that not all the facts are physical facts. They think that there are facts about phenomenal consciousness that cannot be explained in purely physical terms—facts about what it’s like to see red, what it’s like to feel sandpaper, what it’s like to run 10 miles when it’s 15° F out, and so on. These phenomenal facts are genuine ‘extras’, not fixed by the physical facts and the physical laws. To use the standard metaphor: even after God settled the (...) physical facts and laws, he had more work to do to put the phenomenal facts in place. Some dualists think that the additional work involves the creation of a special kind of nonphysical substance. More common these days are dualists who think that the additional work merely involves the creation and positioning of special nonphysical properties, and that is the only form of dualism that I will be explicitly concerned with here. The property dualist’s claim is that phenomenal properties, or at least protophenomenal properties, are among the basic furniture of the world. (shrink)
The basic form of the exclusion problem is by now very, very familiar. 2 Start with the claim that the physical realm is causally complete: every physical thing that happens has a sufficient physical cause. Add in the claim that the mental and the physical are distinct. Toss in some claims about overdetermination, give it a stir, and voilá—suddenly it looks as though the mental never causes anything, at least nothing physical. As it is often put, the physical does all (...) the work, and there is nothing left for the mental to do. (shrink)
I think that there is an awful lot wrong with the exclusion problem. So, it seems, does just about everybody else. But of course everyone disagrees about exactly _what_ is wrong with it, and I think there is more to be said about that. So I propose to say a few more words about why the exclusion problem is not really a problem after all—at least, not for the nonreductive physicalist. The genuine _dualist_ is still in trouble. Indeed, one of (...) my main points will be that the nonreductive physicalist is in a rather different position vis à vis the exclusion problem than the dualist is. Properly understanding nonreductive physicalism—and clearly recognizing that it is, after all, a form of _physicalism_—goes a long way toward solving the exclusion problem. (shrink)
A variety of relations widely invoked by philosophers—composition, constitution, realization, micro-basing, emergence, and many others—are species of what I call ‘building relations’. I argue that they are conceptually intertwined, articulate what it takes for a relation to count as a building relation, and argue that—contra appearances—it is an open possibility that these relations are all determinates of a common determinable, or even that there is really only one building relation.
Case 1: Perhaps the phenomenal facts—facts about what it’s like to see red, or to taste freshly made pesto—do not supervene with metaphysical necessity on the physical facts and physical laws. This might be because the connections between the physical and the phenomenal are entirely unprincipled. Alternatively, it might be because whatever psychophysical laws do govern those connections are contingent. Either way, the claim is that there are metaphysically possible worlds that are just like the actual world in terms of (...) what physical laws hold, and in terms of the distribution of physical properties, but which are phenomenally different from the actual world. In some such worlds, different phenomenal facts obtain. In other such worlds, no phenomenal properties are instantiated at all. Call the latter sort of world a ‘phenomenal zombie world’, or, for short, just a ‘zombie world’. (shrink)
A lot of people believe that distinct objectscan occupy precisely the same place for theentire time during which they exist. Suchpeople have to provide an answer to the`grounding problem' – they have to explain howsuch things, alike in so many ways, nonethelessmanage to fall under different sortals, or havedifferent modal properties. I argue in detailthat they cannot say that there is anything invirtue of which spatio-temporally coincidentthings have those properties. However, I alsoargue that this may not be as bad as (...) it looks,and that there is a way to make sense of theclaim that such properties are primitive. (shrink)
In these few pages I shall try to demonstrate the emptiness of the most cumbersome piece of unexamined intellectual baggage at present being hauled about by English philosophers. I here cite one example to be going on with, at the end of the paper I shall give a handful more, and it would be easy to multiply the number by ten from the writings of reputable philosophers. The outstanding philosophical achievement of the ha1f-century which has just drawn to a close (...) [i.e. the period 1900-1950] has been an appreciation of the peculiar status of a priori judgments and of logically necessary or formally true propositions. . . . Though many problems remain unsolved, the main outline is now clear: formally true statements assert nothing about the world; instead, their function is to state principles according to which empirical propositions are deduced from other empirical propositions . . . (R. B. Braithwaite, ‘Moral Principles and Inductive Policies’, Proceedings of the British Academy 1950). What is wrong with this passage and with the myth of which it is an expression is its assumption that we have clear notions of what it is for a proposition to be logically necessary and of what it is for a proposition to assert something about the world, these notions being such that it is plausible to say that it has recently been discovered that every proposition having the first of these properties lacks the second. This assumption is wrong: there is no body of published theory giving a clear account of such notions, and despite fairly diligent searching I have so far failed to find, among the many philosophers who accept the myth, one who is able when challenged to supplement the literature on this vital point. Let me make it clear at once that I am not going to defend synthetic a priori truths - I am going to attack a popular mishandling of the truth that all necessary truths are analytic, and through this attack to draw right-wing conclusions from left-wing premisses.. (shrink)
In this paper1 I shall present not just the conscience of Huckleberry Finn but two others as well. One of them is the conscience of Heinrich Himmler. He became a Nazi in 1923; he served drably and quietly, but well, and was rewarded with increasing responsibility and power. At the peak of his career he held many offices and commands, of which the most powerful was that of leader of the S.S. - the principal police force of the Nazi regime. (...) In this capacity, Himmler commanded the whole concentration-camp system, and was responsible for the execution of the so-called ‘final solution of the Jewish problem’. It is important for my purposes that this piece of social engineering should be thought of not abstractly but in concrete terms of Jewish families being marched to what they think are bath-houses, to the accompaniment of loud-speaker renditions of extracts from The Merry Widow and Tales of Hoffman, there to be choked to death by poisonous gases. Altogether, Himmler succeeded in murdering about four and a half million of them, as well as several million gentiles, mainly Poles and Russians. The other conscience to be discussed is that of the Calvinist theologian and philosopher Jonathan Edwards. He lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, and has a good claim to be considered America’s first serious and considerable philosophical thinker. He was for many years a widely-renowned preacher and Congregationalist minister in New England; in 1748 a dispute with his congregation led him to resign (he couldn’t accept their view that unbelievers should be admitted to the Lord’s Supper in the hope that it would convert them); for some years after that he worked as a missionary, preaching to Indians through an interpreter;, then in 1758 he accepted the presidency of what is now Princeton University, and within two months died from a smallpox inoculation. Along the way he wrote some first-rate philosophy: his book attacking the notion of free will is still sometimes read.. (shrink)
The aim of this paper1 is to attack Quine’s views on the analytic-synthetic distinction (ASD), but more than half of it will be devoted to arguing that an attack is still required. This preliminary thesis is based on the claim that what Quine presents as (1) an attack on the ASD, followed by (2) some remarks about confirmation and disconfirmation, offers a more formidable obstacle to the adherent of the traditional ASD if (2) is built into (1) as a positive (...) but unwelcome theory of the.. (shrink)
Concerns about ‘mental causation’ are concerns about how it is possible for mental states to cause anything to happen. How does what we believe, want, see, feel, hope, or dread manage to cause us to act? Certain positions on the mind-body problem—including some forms of physicalism—make such causation look highly problematic. This entry sketches several of the main reasons to worry, and raises some questions for further investigation.
Bernard Linsky and Edward Zalta have recently proposed a new form of actualism. I characterize the general form of their view and the motivations behind it. I argue that it is not quite new – it bears interesting similarities to Alvin Plantinga’s view – and that it definitely isn’t actualist.
The claim that we have a moral obligation, where a choice can be made, to bring to birth the 'best' child possible, has been highly controversial for a number of decades. More recently Savulescu has labelled this claim the Principle of Procreative Beneficence. It has been argued that this Principle is problematic in both its reasoning and its implications, most notably in that it places lower moral value on the disabled. Relentless criticism of this proposed moral obligation, however, has been (...) unable, thus far, to discredit this Principle convincingly and as a result its influence shows no sign of abating. I will argue that while criticisms of the implications and detail of the reasoning behind it are well founded, they are unlikely to produce an argument that will ultimately discredit the obligation that the Principle of Procreative Beneficence represents. I believe that what is needed finally and convincingly to reveal the fallacy of this Principle is a critique of its ultimate theoretical foundation, the notion of impersonal harm. In this paper I argue that while the notion of impersonal harm is intuitively very appealing, its plausibility is based entirely on this intuitive appeal and not on sound moral reasoning. I show that there is another plausible explanation for our intuitive response and I believe that this, in conjunction with the other theoretical criticisms that I and others have levelled at this Principle, shows that the Principle of Procreative Beneficence should be rejected. (shrink)
A set of eight mini-discourses. 1. The conceivability of the physical world's running in the opposite temporal direction. 2. Augustine's reason for thinking this is not conceivable for the world of the mind. 3. Trying to imagine being a creature that lives atemporally. 4. Memory's need for causal input. 5. Acting in the knowledge that how one acts is strictly determined. 6. The Newcomb problem. 7. The idea that all voluntary action is intended to be remedial. 8. Haunted by the (...) strangeness of the idea of the past qua past. (shrink)
This essay seeks to give philosophical expression to the vitality, willfullness, and recalcitrance possessed by nonhuman entities and forces. It also considers the ethico-political import of an enhanced awareness of "thing-power." Drawing from Lucretius, Spinoza, Gilles Deleuze, Bruno Latour, and others, it describes a materialism of lively matter, to be placed in conversation with the historical materialism of Marx and the body materialism of feminist and cultural studies. Thing-power materialism is a speculative onto-story, an admittedly presumptuous attempt to depict the (...) nonhumanity that flows around and through humans. The essay concludes with a preliminary discussion of the ecological implications of thing-power. (shrink)
Actualists routinely characterize their view by means of the slogan, “Everything is actual.” They say that there aren’t any things that exist but do not actually exist—there aren’t any “mere possibilia.” If there are any things that deserve the label ‘possible world’, they are just actually existing entities of some kind—maximally consistent sets of sentences, or maximal uninstantiated properties, or maximal possible states of affairs, or something along those lines. Possibilists, in contrast, do think that there are mere possibilia, that (...) there are things that are not actual. They think that more exists than what actually exists. All I have done so far, though, is rephrase the slogan in various ways. To say that everything is actual is precisely to say that there are no things that do not actually exist, which is precisely to say that there are no mere possibilia, and which is also precisely to say that we cannot sep- arately quantify over what exists and what is actual. These claims all amount to the same thing. But what is that, exactly? What on earth does it mean to say that everything is actual, that there are no mere possibilia, and so on? What does the actualist slogan really come to? I think the literature is far from clear on this point, and that people work themselves into unnecessary muddles because of it. Indeed, certain confusions that I shall discuss in the first half of this article seem to be on the rise. It is high time to lay out the issues and the choice points as clearly as possible. There are two primary choices to be made; there are two axes along which versions of actualism can vary. One choice has to do with how to treat claims about things that merely could exist. The other choice has to do with the modal status of the view and of how we should think about the “actual” in actualism. I make no claim that the positions I will eventually endorse are star- tlingly new. I think that most people will agree with the decisions I make at both choice points and will in fact find some bits of this essay obvious. But not everyone agrees with my decisions, and it has been my experience that people differ remarkably about which bits they find obvious—a fact I find rather telling. My goal, then, is to show that the two axes are there and to clarify the consequences of the choices. (shrink)
Two versions of global supervenience have recently been distinguished from each other. I introduce a third version, which is more likely what people had in mind all along. However, I argue that one of the three versions is equivalent to strong supervenience in every sense that matters, and that neither of the other two versions counts as a genuine determination relation. I conclude that global supervenience has little metaphysically distinctive value.
The paper is an extended discussion of what I call the ‘dismissive attitude’ towards metaphysical questions. It has three parts. In the first part, I distinguish three quite different versions of dismissivism. I also argue that there is little reason to think that any of these positions is correct about the discipline of metaphysics as a whole; it is entirely possible that some metaphysical disputes should be dismissed and others should not be. Doing metametaphysics properly requires doing metaphysics first. I (...) then put two particular disputes on the table to be examined in the rest of the paper: the dispute over whether composite objects exist, and the dispute about whether distinct objects can be colocated. In the second part of the paper, I argue against the claim that these disputes are purely verbal disputes. In the third part of the paper, I present a new version of dismissivism, and argue that it is probably the correct view about the two disputes in question. They are not verbal disputes, and the discussion about them to date has not remotely been a waste of time. At this stage, however, our evidence has run out. I argue that neither side of either dispute is simpler than the other, and that the same objections in fact arise against both sides. (For example, the compositional nihilist does not in fact escape the problem of the many, and the one-thinger does not in fact escape the grounding problem.). (shrink)
Mickelsen’s site also has translations of the texts by Bacon, Descartes, Spinoza, and Kant, and of Leibniz’s Discourse on Metaphysics and his Monadology. These may be the best in the public domain (and thus the best available on the internet).
The author critically examines and rejects alvin plantinga's defense of the free will theodicy, As presented in chapter six of plantinga's "god and other minds". If the author's arguments are correct, Then any attempt on the part of the rational apologist to explain evil by reference to man's free will must be considered futile. Since the arguments presented will be seen as supporting natural atheology (which, For plantinga, Is "the attempt...To show that, Given what we know, It is impossible or (...) unlikely that God exists"), The article ends with the claim that both rational apologetics and natural atheology are conceptually confused, And that this confusion can be traced to their failure to understand the nature of religious belief. (shrink)
This boy is Ignorance. This girl is Want. Beware them both, and all of their degree, but most of all beware this boy, for on his brow I see that written which is Doom... —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
DESCARTES was a dualist and Spinoza a monist. If this marks a contrast between them, there ought to be a question to which Descartes’s answer was “two” and Spinoza’s “one”. (a) How many substances are there? Spinoza: “One.” Descartes: “Strictly speaking, one; but if we relax the criteria for substantiality a little, millions.” On no interpretation of the question did Descartes answer, “Two.” (b) How many basic kinds of substance are there? Descartes: “Two.” Spinoza: “Two; though there is only one (...) substance, and it is of both kinds.” Descartes is usually called a dualist because he took thought and extension to be the two basic, logically independent ways of being; but in this sense Spinoza was a dualist, too. If we take seriously his talk of “infinite” attributes, we may call him a pluralist on this point, but certainly not a monist. (c) Of how many substances does an embodied person consist? Descartes (ignoring his views about the divisibility of matter): “Two: an embodied person is made up of a body and a mind, which are distinct substances.” Spinoza: “None: an embodied person is a mode (under two attributes) of the one and only substance, and is not made up of any number of substances.” Those are the questions which come most readily to mind, and none yields a dualist/monist contrast between Descartes and Spinoza. But: (d) Given that A and B are basic, logically independent attributes, what is the smallest number of substances needed to instantiate both A and B? To this Descartes does answer “Two” and Spinoza does answer “One.” I suspect that those who “contrast” Descartes and Spinoza as dualist and monist usually have in mind not the genuine contrast brought out by (d) but rather the fact that Descartes answered “Two” to (b) while Spinoza answered “One” to (a). Still, (d) is important in the thinking of both philosophers and in the philosophy of mind generally. Strawson's chapter, “Persons,” for example, is interesting partly for its Spinozist answer to (d): Strawson does not reduce mental predicates to physical or vice versa, but says that predicates of both kinds may apply to a single thing, namely a person.. (shrink)