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Lecture

Winter Term Notes (70% Complete)


Department
Philosophy
Course Code
PHL105Y5
Professor
Jonathan Peterson

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Descartes and Dualism – Jan 6
Mind is immaterial.
Plato: we remember things that we don't remember from this particular life.
Disagreement from Lucretius: 1. “the mind and spirit have a material nature. For it is an observable
fact that they impel the limbs, wrench the body from sleep, transform the countenance and pilot and
steer the whole person; and since we perceive that all these operations imply touch, and touch in its
turn implies matter, are we not bound to acknowledge that the mind and spirit consists of material
substance?”
2. “The mind suffers in concert with the body and sympathizes with it. Even if a spear fails to strike
the vitals when it is driven into the body with quivering force and severs ones and sinews, it induces
faintness and... sinking to the ground, and... a dizziness of mind.... so the mind must have a material
nature, since it is affected by the painful blows of material spears”.
Monism – mind and body is the same physical type of thing
Dualism – mind and body are two distinct things.
The indiscernibility of identicals is made by Descartes to disprove mononism.
If two things are identical, they must have all the same properties.
P1: m has property P.
P2: b does not have property P.
P3. If m has a property that b lacks, then m is not b.
P4. m is not b.
P1. the brain
An argument for dualism
P1. I cannot doubt that I have a mind. (Indubitable existence, Cogito Ergo Sum)
P2. I can doubt that I have a body
P3. The mind and the body are not identical.
Second argument for dualism:
P1. Body has properties of divisibility and extension (matter)
P2. The mind does not have the properties of divisibility or extension
C. The mind and body are not identical.
The nature of the body
“I might consider the body of a man as kind of machine equipped with and made up of bones, nerves
muscles, veins, blood and skin in such a way that, even if there were no mind in it, it would still

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perform all the same movements as it now does in these cases where movement is not under the control
of the will”.
Interactionism: Mind and Body interact with each other. Descartes says that the pineal gland is where
mind and body comes together.
Occasionalism: I want my arm to go up; God makes my arm come up.
→ Hume: But God is a “mind” too!
Other terms: substance dualism, interactionism

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Gilbert Ryle: Jan 11
Gilbert Ryle: A more modern/intuitive approach to the mind/body problem.
He calls dualism the myth of the “ghost in the machine”
→ the myth that an invisible, intellectual entity drives the physical body
Dualism:
Ontological claim: 1. Body exists in space and time, and can be explained using mechanical laws. It
is public, and is observable to the public.
2. Mind does not exist in space and time. Exists in time, but not space. (Consciousness). It is not
observable to the public. Can participate in introspection.
Terms: Epistemological claim
When I see a brick dropped on your foot, I induce that you feel pain based on my experience of pain.
Dualist idea is generally rejected today.
One aspect of “the ghost in the machine” that is still accepted today: Mental events are inner causes of
behavior. “Mental Causation”. Descartes notes that this is connected with the pineal gland.
Gilbert Ryle's rejection of this aspect:
P1. If mental states are inner causes of behavior, then we do not have knowledge of the mental states
of other people.
P2. We do have knowledge to other people's mental states.
C. It is not the case that mental states are inner causes of behavior.
He proposes that “the ghost in the machine” is false because of a category mistake.
“Here is the north building, here is the south building, here is the office of the registrar”
“But where is the university?”
“Where is the player who's in charge of displaying team spirit?”
You are looking for the wrong TYPE of thing.
This type of thinking gives rise to the problem of the ghost of the machine. We are looking for this
ghostly entity that causes things to happen in the mind. It is a mistake to think that there is a ghostly
cause to bodily movements.
Solution: get rid of talking about a ghostly mind and replace it with behavior.
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