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5. Philosophy of Mind

WILLIAM G. LYCAN


Subject Mind and Cognitive Science » Philosophy of Mind

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631219088.2002.00010.x


Extract

The first answer to the mind-body problem proposed in the modern period was that of D escartes (chapter 26) , who held that minds are wholly distinct from bodies and from physical objects of any sort. According to Cartesian dualism , minds are purely spiritual and radically non-spatial, having neither size nor location. On this view, a normal living human being or person is a duality, a mind and a body paired (though there can be bodies without minds, and minds can survive the destruction of their corresponding bodies). Mysteriously, despite the drastic distinctness of minds from bodies, they interact causally: bodily happenings cause sensations and experiences and thoughts in one's mind; conversely, mental activity leads to action and speech, causing the physical motion of limbs or lips. Cartesian dualism has strong intuitive appeal, since from the inside, our minds do not feel physical at all; and we can easily imagine their existing disembodied or, indeed, their existing in the absence of any physical world whatever. And until very recently, in fact, the philosophy of mind has been dominated by Descartes's ‘first-person’ or from-the-inside perspective. With few exceptions, philosophers have accepted the following claims: (1) that one's own mind is better known than one's body, (2) that the mind is metaphysically in the body's driver's seat, and (3) that there is at least ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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