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Chapter 2

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PHIL 2240
Brandon Fenton

LOWE Chapter 2 Minds, bodies and people  The mind-body problem  Contentious – how the ‘mind’ is related to the body  ‘the problem of how subjects of experience are related to their physical bodies’  Limiting to human persons, but may include non-human animals  Possibilities:  Person is identical with their body, or some distinguished part of it, as its brain  Person is something distinct from body  Person is a composite entity, one part is their body and another is something else, possibly an immaterial spirit or soul  Later 2 are forms of ‘substance dualism’  ‘substance’ any sort of persisting object or thing which is capable of undergoing changes in its properties over time  Don’t confuse with ‘substance’ – denoting some kind of stuff, as water CARTESIAN DUALISM:  Rene Descartes  Writes as if human person is distinct from body  Immaterial substance in relation to body  Other times, the human person is a combination in a relation of ‘substance union’  Person is not made of any parts, invisible  Subjects of experience, with thoughts and feelings  Bodies - spatial extension, mass, location  Human person - states of consciousness  Believed bodies incapable of thinking  Behaviour of bodies governed by mechanical laws, movements determined by effect of coming into contact with other bodies  How could this manifest intelligent activity (human speech to communicate thoughts) THE CONCEIVABILITY ARGUMENT:  Laws supposedly governing the behaviour of our bodies – Descartes believed a priori (wrong)  One can coherently conceive the possibility of themselves existing without a body, in a disembodied state  This means can’t be identical to a body  Being identical with a body, but the possibility to exist without it  It not possible to exist without me existing  Cannot be identical with the body,  Exist without existing is not true of I  Force of argument depends on possibility to exist without the body  We can imagine existing in a disembodied state, not enough for it to be logically possible  Descartes claims can clearly and distinctly perceive it is possible  No proof  Any proof will appeal to a further claim that something is possible  Some claims about what is possible are acceptable without proof, or else all are not  Descartes claim not one of these THE DIVISIBLE ARGUMENT:  Other argument by Descartes  As a subject of experience, is simple and indivisible substance, body being spatial, is and composed of parts  Since they differ, the body and him cannot be the same thing  Challenging his assumption of being a substance, questions use of I  Referring to single thing persisting identically though time  Perhaps I is referring to a linguistic function  Pick out a certain object as ‘it’ in ‘it is raining’  Subjects of experience persist through time and undergo change without loss of identity  Losing a part of the body is not losing a part of one’s self  What of the bran?  Descartes claim of being able to exist as a disembodied state without it is insufficient NON –CARTESIAN DUALISM  A person is a thing possessing both mental and physical characteristics  Mental states attributed to person themselves  “I need to have a brain to think and feel’  Persistence-conditions of objects – conditions under which an object of that kind continues to survive as an object of that kind  Appeal to possibility of exchanging body or brain for another (perhaps non-organic)  If could survive demise of present brain, could not be identical with it  Is a person composed by their body?  If true every part of the body is part of the person, but reverse not true  If a person is composed by their body, but not identical with it – person must have certain parts in addition to body, but not the case after dismissing immaterial soul  Must deny a person is composed by their body ARE PERSONS SIMPLE SUBSTANCES?  Things having exactly the same parts are identical with one another – mereology  A person is not identical with their body and must be a simple substance (compressed argument) - reverse structure of Descartes  Notion of ‘dividing a person in two’  By removing a part of a person’s body either left with the same person or no person at all  Another objection to simple substance claim, if combined with claim that persons share with their bodies physical characteristics  If persons are spatially extended they must be divisible into distinct parts  They are abstractions whose identity depends upon their relation to the single person they belong to CONCEPTUAL OBJECTIONS TO DUALISTIC INTERATION  Cartesian substance dualism is a form of Interactionism dualism – mental states of a person often interact causally with physical states of the body, both causing such states and being caused by them  Critic of nonphysical states are causes and effects of physical states  Conceptual and empirical difficulties  Conceptual difficulties – cannot make sense of there being a casual transaction between items different in nature from one another ad the dualist conceives mental and physical states  Cartesian dualism leaves no scope for these interactions to happen  Idea causation must be ‘local’ abandoned by Newtonian theory of gravitation  Gravitational force is carried by particles known as ‘gravitons’ implying gravitational effects are local rather than the results of action at
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