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Mind Body Problem P1

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University of British Columbia
PHIL 101
Christopher Stephens

Mind-Body Problem What is the relationship between the mind and physical stuff? Body vs. Brain. On one hand we have material things in the brain like neurons, however, the mind seems to be from immaterial things. Descartes’ Cartesian Dualism: There are essentially two types of ‘stuff’ in nature: (1) Physical Stuff – neurons, trees, rocks… (2) Mental Stuff – mind, pains, beliefs… He says these two kinds of ‘stuff’ should not be mistaken for each other, and this categorization is metaphysical in nature (makes a claim of the nature of reality). Physical causing Mental: physical injury to the body = pain Mental causing Physical: human movement from thought Materialism: All that exists is matter (material) Idealism: The view that everything that exists is mental (immaterial) Solipsism: The view that everything that exists is you Vitalism: The belief that living things simply contain a non-physical substance that ultimately animates life in the physical body (élan vital). Mind-Brain Identity Theory: An alternative to dualism, which states that the mind and the body is one and the same thing; and it asserts an a posteriori discovery of the identity between the mind and the body. Ex. H 2 and water; lightning and electrical discharge Leibniz’s Law: Leibniz’s Indiscernibility of Identicals. If a=b, then a has all the same properties of b. If a has a property b lacks, a ≠ b Ex. If water is what we drink, and water is H 2, than H O2is what we drink Argument Schema for Dualism: supporting Dualism against Mind-Brain Identity Theory P1: The mind has property p P2: The brain does not have property p P3: If they have differing properties, mind ≠ brain Deductively Valid! Descartes’ First Argument for Dualism: P1: The mind has the property of indubitable existence (I cannot doubt that I have a mind). P2: The body does not have the property of indubitable existence (I can doubt that I have a body) P3: Leibniz’s Law P4:  mind ≠ brain Objections to Descartes 1 Argument: P1: Lois Lane wanted to marry Superman P2: Lois Lane didn’t want to marry the reporter of the daily planet (Clark Kent) P3: Leibniz’s Law P4: Superman ≠ the reporter at the Daily Planet (Clark Kent) Maybe then we can conclude physical properties are illusory Intentional Property: A discriminating property that draws the conclusion, representing the whole. Lois Lane’s intentional property was ‘wanting’. Desires, beliefs, knowledge… P1: I know that Venus = Venus P2: I don’t know that Venus = the Morning Star P3: Leibniz’s Law P4: Venus ≠ the morning star Note: Leibniz’s Law doesn’t always apply to properties that qualify as intentional states. (1) I have a brain (2) I have a mind. Descartes says that I can doubt proposition (1), but I cannot doubt proposition (2). From this, it does not follow that my brain has a different property from my mind. The intentional property in his argument is ‘doubting’. Descartes’ Second Argument for Dualism: P1: The body (brain) has the property of extension P2: The mind does not have the property of extension. P3: Leibniz’s Law P4: Mind ≠ Body Mind might be able to extend so P2 is not solid Two Criticisms for Dualism: 1. The problem of causal interaction between the physical and the nonphysical. The interact
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