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Lecture 18

PHLA10H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 18: Lady Gaga, Dukkha

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William Seager

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Philo Lecture 18 – The Philosophy of Mind
Who’s Looking At Who?
The Mind-Body Problem
What is mind?
oMental states such as belief, desire, etc
oConsciousness such as feelings, sensation, etc
What is matter or the physical?
oWhat is described by physics
oPhysical states like mass, shape, electric charge, etc
The mind-body problem is the trouble explaining the relationship between the mental and the
oBefore the 17th century, there was no clear idea of what the material world was, until
the birth of physics
oThis is when the question of the relationship between the mental and physical came up
The source of the modern mind-body problem is Descartes
oDisplaying a man interacting with fire
oWhat are the mental and physical occurrences in this image?
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Dualism vs. Materialism
oDualism is the view that mind and matter are different things
The symbolist opposition
Descartes supported dualism
oMaterialism is the view that mind is a part of the material world which is all there is
Most philosophers nowadays believe materialism is true
One form of Dualism is Cartesian Dualism
oMind is a separate entity; it is non-spatial, meaning it has no size and no location
oStates that there are two kinds of foundation: mental and body. This philosophy states
that the mental cannot exist outside of the body, and the body cannot think.
oMind is in causal interaction with matter
Example: injury to body causes painful feeling in mind
Example: mental decision to raise arm causes arm to rise
One form of Materialism is the Mind-Brain Identity Theory
oMind is identical to brain; the mind is an operating brain
oAnalogy with the discovery that water = H2O
People at first believed water was homoeomorous, but now we have studies
proving this isn’t true
Neuroscience will discover that mind = brain
Mind and Soul
Soul—whatever it is—seems to involve mind. Sometimes it is said that mind is the “rational
part” of the soul
oBut this seems to forget many conscious mental states like feelings, emotions and
A quick argument for dualism
oThe mind (part of the soul) is immortal. The body is not immortal. Therefore, mind and
body must be separate
oThis is a valid argument, but is this a sound argument? This is something that is always
questioned about this argument
Arguments like these use a very important philosophical principle: Leibniz’s Law
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