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.
This paper examines Descartes's third primary notion and the distinction between different kinds of knowledge based on different and mutually irreducible primary notions. It discusses the application of the notions of clearness and distinctness to the domain of knowledge based on that of mind-bodyunion. It argues that the consequences of the distinctions Descartes is making with regard to our knowledge of the human mind and nature are rather different from those that have been attributed to Descartes due (...) to the influential Rylean picture of Cartesian mind-body dualism. (shrink)
I contend that Descartes’s view of mind-bodyunion is not a Platonic view in which the soul uses the body as its vehicle, but hylomorphic in that mind and body form a single unit. I argue that Descartes’s view is most like Ockham’s, and therefore Descartes is entitled to maintain a hylomorphic theory to the same extent that Ockham is. I argue further that the soul is the substantial form of human being, and that mind and body are (...) incomplete substances that are substantially united to form the human substance. Finally, I address Descartes’s claim that the whole soul has its principle seat in the pineal gland, and conclude that this does not imply a Platonic view as one might suspect. This hylomorphic interpretation avoids the problem of mind-body interaction, which might be seen as preventing the possibility of the soul’s immortality, because an explanation of the behavior of one entity is required instead of an explanation of the interaction between two, apparently incompatible, entities. (shrink)
Descartes held that the human mind or soul is indivisible, unlike body. In this paper I argue that his treatment of this feature of the soul is intimately connected to his engagement with Aristotelian scholasticism. I discuss two strands in Descartes. There is a long tradition of arguing for the immortality of the human soul on the basis of this view. Descartes did use this view in defense of dualism, but I argue that he held that the soul’s immortality should (...) be established rather on the basis of its status as a substance. This line of thought, I contend, is connected to his rejection of (most) Aristotelian substantial forms. Furthermore, the indivisibility of the human soul emerges repeatedly in connection to the union and interaction of mind and body in ways that connect to Aristotelian scholastic treatments of these issues. (shrink)
Taking into account the difficulties that all attempts at a solution of the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion have experienced, we analyze in this paper the chances that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination, a line of attack that has scarcely been explored. Our conclusion is that claiming that behaviors are causally overdetermined cannot solve the problem of causal-explanatory exclusion. The reason is the problem of massive coincidence, that can only be avoided by establishing a relation between mind and (...) body; that is, by denying overdetermination. The only way to defend that mind-body causation is a case of overdetermination would be by denying any modal force whatever to the principle of the causal closure of the physical, and this is a claim we would not like to reject. (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)
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.
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)
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)
Most scholars who presently deal with the Mind-Body problem consider themselves monist materialists. Nevertheless, many of them also assume that there exist (in some sense of existence) mental entities. But since these two positions do not harmonize quite well, the literature is full of discussions about how to reconcile the positions. In this paper, I will defend a materialist theory that avoids all these problems by completely rejecting the existence of mental entities. This is Quine's repudiation theory. According to (...) the theory, there are no mental entities, and the behavioral or physiological phenomena that have been attributed to mental entities, or that point to the existence of these entities, are exclusively caused by physiological factors. To be sure, several objections have been raised to materialist theories that do not assign some role to mental entities. But we will see that Quine is able to give convincing replies to these objections. (shrink)
It has become evident that mind–body supervenience, as merely specifying a covariance between mental and physical properties, is consistent with clearly non-physicalist views of the mental, such as emergentism. Consequently, there is a push in the physicalist camp for an ontologically more robust supervenience, a “superdupervenience,” that ensures that properties supervening on physical properties are physicalistically acceptable. Jessica Wilson claims that supervenience is made superduper by Condition on Causal Powers (CCP): each individual causal power associated with a supervenient property is (...) numerically identical with a causal power associated with its base property. Furthermore, according to Wilson, a wide variety of physicalist positions, both reductive and non-reductive, can be seen as relying on CCP to ensure that properties supervening on physical properties are physicalistically acceptable. I argue that imposing CCP on mind–body supervenience fails to ensure that mental properties are physicalistically acceptable. The problem, I contend, is that while CCP may guard against supervenient mental properties being insufficiently grounded in their physical bases it fails to guard against supervenient mental properties being too deeply grounded in their physical bases. (shrink)
Through the ages, Christians have almost automatically been Mind-Body dualists. The Bible portrays us as spiritual beings, and one obvious way to be a spiritual being is to be (or to have) an immaterial soul. Since it is also evident that we have bodies, Christians naturally have thought of themselves as composite beings, made of two substances—a material body and a nonmaterial soul. Despite the historical weight of this position, I do not think that it is required either by (...) Scripture or by Christian doctrine as it has developed through the ages. So, I want to argue that there is a Christian alternative to Mind-Body Dualism, and that the reasons in favor of the alternative outweigh those in favor of Mind-Body Dualism. (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)
This is a multi-disciplinary exploration of the history of understanding of the human mind or soul and its relationship to the body, through the course of more than two thousand years. Thirteen specially commissioned chapters, each written by a recognized expert, discuss such figures as the doctors Hippocrates and Galen, the theologians St Paul, Augustine, and Aquinas, and philosophers from Plato to Leibniz.
* 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.
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)
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)
Sergio Moravia's The Enigma of the Mind (originally published in Italian as L'enigma della mente) offers a broad and lucid critical and historical survey of one of the fundamental debates in the philosophy of mind - the relationship of mind and body. This problem continues to raise deep questions concerning the nature of man. The book has two central aims. First, Professor Moravia sketches the major recent contributions to the mind/body problem from philosophers of mind. Having established this framework Professor (...) Moravia pursues his second aim - the articulation of a particular interpretation of the mental and the mind-body problem. The book's detailed and systematic treatment of this fundamental philosophical issue make it ideal for upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in epistemology and the philosophy of mind. It should also prove provocative reading for psychologists and cognitive scientists. (shrink)
It is asked to what extent answers to such questions as ?Can machines think??, ?Could robots have feelings?? might be expected to yield insight into traditional mind?body questions. It has sometimes been assumed that answering the first set of questions would be the same as answering the second. Against this approach other philosophers have argued that answering the first set of questions would not help us to answer the second. It is argued that both of these assessments are mistaken. It (...) is then claimed, although not argued in detail, that the following three approaches to the first set of questions are mistaken: (1) machines (and robots) obviously cannot think, feel, create, etc., since they do only what they are programmed to do; (2) on the basis of ah analysis of the meaning of the words ?machine? ('robot?, ?think?, ?feel?, etc.) we can see that in principle it would be impossible for machines (or robots) to think, feel, create, etc.; (3) machines (and robots) obviously can (or could) think, feel, etc., since they do certain things which, if we were to do them, would require thought, feeling, etc. It is argued that, once it is seen why approach (2) is mistaken, it becomes desirable to decline ?in principle? approaches to the first set of questions and to favor ?piecemeal investigations? where attention is centered upon what is actually taking place in machine technology, the development of new programming techniques, etc. Some suggestions are made concerning the relevance of current computer simulation studies to traditional mind?body questions. A new set of questions is proposed as a substitute for the first set of questions. It is hoped that attempts to answer these may provide us with new and detailed portraits of the mind?body relationship. (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)
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).
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. Gallagher pursues two basic sets of questions. The first set consists of questions about the phenomenal aspects of the structure of experience, and specifically the relatively regular and constant features that we find in the content of our experience. If throughout conscious experience there is a constant reference to one's own body, even if this is a recessive or marginal awareness, then that reference constitutes a structural feature of the phenomenal field of consciousness, part of a framework that is likely to determine or influence all other aspects of experience. The second set of questions concerns aspects of the structure of experience that are more hidden, those that may be more difficult to get at because they happen before we know it. They do not normally enter into the content of experience in an explicit way, and are often inaccessible to reflective consciousness. To what extent, and in what ways, are consciousness and cognitive processes, which include experiences related to perception, memory, imagination, belief, judgement, and so forth, shaped or structured by the fact that they are embodied in this way? (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)
[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)
The Clarke-Collins correspondence was widely read and frequently printed during the 18th century. Its central topic is the question whether matter can think. Samuel Clarke defends the immateriality of the human soul against Anthony Collins’ materialism. Clarke argues that consciousness must belong to an indivisible entity, and matter is divisible. Collins contends that consciousness could belong to a composite subject by emerging from material qualities that belong to its parts. While many early modern thinkers assumed that this is not possible, (...) this correspondence offers an unusually detailed discussion of this issue. Clarke rejects emergentism because real qualities of a composite must be homogeneous with the qualities of the parts. This rejection is based on considerations about the nature of causation. In addition, the disagreement derives in part from a disagreement between Clarke and Collins about the limits of our knowledge. (shrink)
This paper reflects on the status of Descartes' notion of the mind-bodyunion as an object of knowledge in the framework of his new philosophy of nature, and argues that it should be taken seriously as representing a third kind of real thing or reality—that of human nature. Because it does not meet the criteria of distinctness that the two natures composing it—those of thinking minds and extended bodies— meet, the phenomena referred to it, which are objects of (...) psychology as traditionally understood, fall outside the scope of clear and distinct perception required for knowledge. The prospects for rationalist psychology are bleak, since because of the mind-bodyunion so little of the contents of the human mind are accessible to rational inspection or introspection. Mechanistic natural philosophy on the other hand gives us knowledge only of the physiological and corporeal aspects of the phenomena Descartes classifies as mental. What pertains to the mind-bodyunion can only be known through the senses, moreover, we learn to conceive the mind-bodyunion only through daily experience (“usant seulement de la vie et des conversations ordinaries”, AT 3, 695). I discuss the nature of this experience, and the sense in which Cartesian psychology without being part of his philosophy of nature in the strict sense of the term, can still be seen as a naturalist undertaking in a more traditional sense of nature where life, sentience, reasoning and rational action are all seen as natural phenomena. (shrink)
Naturalism about the mind is often taken to be equivalent to some form of physicalism: the existence of mental properties must be shown not to compromise the autonomy of the physical realm. It is argued that this leads to a choice between reductionism, eliminativism, epiphenomenalism or interactionism. The central aim of the paper is to outline an Aristotelian alternative to the physicalist conception of natural bodies. It is argued that the distinction between form and matter, and an ontology which treats (...) individual natural bodies as real, unified things, rather than as complexes, enables us to achieve the non-reductionist, non-epiphenomenalist and non-interactionist position which eludes the post-Cartesian. (shrink)
Philosophy's essence depicted by Socrates lies in its role as pedagogy for living, yet its traditional treatment of ‘body’ as a hindrance to ‘knowledge’ in fact severs it from life, transforming it into ‘an escape from life’ (James, 1978, p. 18). The philosophy/life dichotomy is thus an inherent flaw preventing philosophy as traditionally taught and engaged in, from fulfilling its original goal.Recent rejections of the Cartesian nature of Western curriculum, such as O'Loughlin's ‘Embodiment and Education: Exploring creatural existence’ (2006), constitute (...) an important theoretical paradigm shift, yet still fail to translate to substantial pedagogies which explore the ‘body’ and its relation to ‘mind’ directly. This article suggests a reorientation of philosophy teaching from its present disembodied pedagogy, towards an embodied-lived-philosophical-practice. By the description and exemplification of modern postural yoga (De Michelis, 2004) I will depict the twofold role of the ‘body’ in philosophy teaching: 1) The ‘body’ as pedagogical vehicle serving the emergence of philosophical discourse, and 2) The body as yielding livingness to mean embodied-lived-philosophy as opposed to disembodied-lofty-philosophical escape from life. It will thus be suggested that yoga be incorporated as an integral part of philosophy teaching reclaiming its educational ethos. (shrink)
Leibniz took pride in the Pre-established Harmony as an account of mind-bodyunion. On the other hand, he sometimes claimed that he did not have a good account of such a union. I explain the tension by distinguishing between two importantly different issues that concern the union: body-soul interaction and the per se unity of the composite. Furthermore, I argue that, contrary to R.M. Adams, Leibniz did have the philosophical resources to account for a per se (...) unity of the body-soul composite by invoking Aristolian scholastic solutions to that problem. (shrink)
In this paper I explain several ways in which Descartes denied that the human soul or mind is composite and the role this idea played in his thought. The mind is whole in the whole and whole in the parts of the body because it has no parts. Unlike body, the mind is indivisible, and this is a different idea from the thought that mind and body are incorruptible. Descartes connects the immortality of the soul with its status as a (...) substance and as incorruptible rather than with its indivisibility. (shrink)
In the last two decades there have been many critics of western biomedicine's poor integration of social and psychological factors in questions of human health. Such critiques frequently begin with a rejection of Descartes' mind-body dualism, viewing this as the decisive philosophical moment, radically separating the two realms in both theory and practice. It is argued here, however, that many such readings of Descartes have been selective and misleading. Contrary to the assumptions of many recent authors, Descartes' dualism does (...) attempt to explain the union of psyche and soma - with more depth than is often appreciated. Pain plays a key role in Cartesian as well as contemporary thinking about the problem of dualism. Theories of the psychological origins of pain symptoms persisted throughout the history of modern medicine and were not necessarily discouraged by Cartesian mental philosophy. Moreover, the recently developed biopsychosocial model of pain may have more in common with Cartesian dualism than it purports to have. This article presents a rereading of Descartes' mental philosophy and his views on pain. The intention is not to defend his theories, but to re-evaluate them and to ask in what respect contemporary theories represent any significant advance in philosophical terms. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Preface (Trevor H.J. Marchand, School of Oriental and African Studies). -- Introduction: Making knowledge: explorations of the indissoluble relation between minds, bodies, and environment (Trevor H.J. Marchand, School of Oriental and African Studies). -- 1. 'Practice without theory': a neuroanthropological perspective on embodied learning (Greg Downey, Macquarie University). -- 2. Learning to listen: auscultation and the transmission of auditory knowledge (Tom Rice, University of Exeter). -- 3. The craft of skilful learning: Kazakh women's everyday craft practices (...) in western Mongolia (Anna Odland Portisch, School of Oriental and African Studies). -- 4. 'Something to talk about': notation and knowledge-making among Central Slovak lace-makers (Nicolette Makovicky, Wolfson College, Oxford). -- 5. Embodied cognition and communication: studies with British fine woodworkers (Trevor H.J. Marchand, School of Oriental and African Studies). -- 6. Footprints through the weather-world: walking, breathing, knowing (Tim Ingold, University of Aberdeen). -- 7. Unconscious culture and conscious nature: exploring East Javanese conceptions of the person through Bourdieu's lens (Konstantinos Retsikas, School of Oriental and African Studies). -- 8. Learning to weave; weaving to learn ... what? (Soumhya Venkatesan, University of Manchester). -- 9. Reflections on knowledge practices and the problem of ignorance (Roy Dilley, University of St Andrews). -- 10. Anthropology of knowledge (Emma Cohen, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics). -- Index. (shrink)
This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called “the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As (...) he puts it, “zombies” are metaphysically possible. I attempt to show (I think successfully) that this argument is refuted by considering an analogous argument in the mouth of a zombie. The conclusion of this argument is false so one of the premises is false. I argue at length that this shows that the original conceivability argument also has a false premise and so is invalid. -/- . (shrink)
In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...) while maintaining that qualia themselves are non-physical properties. In this case the non-physical nature of qualia may play no role in accounting for the features of acquaintance. But although the account could be used by a dualist, its existence provides support for physicalism. (shrink)
This paper attempts to connect recent cross-disciplinary treatments of the cognitive or rational significance of emotions with work in contemporary philosophy identifying an evaluative propositional content of emotions. An emphasis on the perspectival nature of emotional evaluations allows for a notion of emotional rationality that does not seem to be available on alternative accounts.
An important part of the mind-brain problem arises because sentience and consciousness seem inherently resistant to scientific explanation and understanding. The solution to this dilemma is to recognize, first, that scientific explanation can only render comprehensible a selected aspect of what there is, and second, that there is a mode of explanation and understanding, the personalistic, quite different from, but just as viable as, scientific explanation. In order to understand the mental aspect of brain processes - that aspect we know (...) about as a result of having relevant neurological processes occur in our own brain - we need to avail ourselves of personalistic explanation, irreducible to scientific explanation. The problem of explaining and understanding why experiential or mental aspects of brain processes or things should be correlated with certain physical processes, things or states of affairs is a non-problem because there is no kind of explanation possible in terms of which an explanation could be couched. A physical theory, amplified to include the experiential, might be predictive but would, necessarily, cease to be explanatory; and an amplified personalistic explanation could not succeed either. There is, in short, an explanation as to why there cannot be an explanation of correlations between physical and mental aspects of processes going on inside our heads. (shrink)
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)
The paper argues that there are effectively only two tenable theories of the mind?brain relationship: ?epiphenomenalism? and ?radical dualism? (interactionism). So long as account is taken only of the conventional sciences, the odds are heavily stacked in favour of epiphenomenalism. However, once the findings of parapsychology are admitted to consideration, a very different situation obtains. It is here argued that parapsychology only makes sense within a dualist metaphysic.
I argue that there are good reasons to deny both type-type and token-token mind-brain identity theories. Yet on the other hand there are compelling reasons for thinking that there is a causal basis for the mind. I argue that a path out of this impasse involves not only showing that criteria of individuation do not determine identity, but also that there are sound methodological reasons for thinking that the cause of intelligent behavior is a real natural kind. Finally, a commitment (...) to this methodology suggests both that these familiar anti-reductionist arguments fail to establish that identity is impossible and at the same time suggest that the preferred alternative will be some version of neutral monism. (shrink)
The body mandala, or, How your brain maps the world -- The little man in the brain, or, Why your genitals are even smaller than you think -- Dueling body maps, or, Why you still feel fat after losing weight -- The homunculus in the game, or, When thinking is as good as doing -- Plasticity gone awry, or, When body maps go blurry -- Broken body maps, or, Why Dr. Strangelove couldn't keep his hand down -- The bubble around (...) the body, or, Why you seek elbow room -- Sticks and stones and cyberbones, or, The end of the body as we know it? -- Mirror, mirror, or, Why yawning is contagious -- Heart of the mandala, or, My insula made me do it -- Afterword, or, The you-ness of you. (shrink)