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Lecture 8: The Mind/Body Problem.  “I think, therefore I am”  Invented the Cartesian coordinate system and analytic geometry  First major (Western)

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Presentation on theme: "Lecture 8: The Mind/Body Problem.  “I think, therefore I am”  Invented the Cartesian coordinate system and analytic geometry  First major (Western)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Lecture 8: The Mind/Body Problem

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4  “I think, therefore I am”  Invented the Cartesian coordinate system and analytic geometry  First major (Western) thinker to frame the mind/body relation as a problem to be solved René Descartes ( ) (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/René_Descartes)

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7  Descartes’ capstone work: Meditations on First Philosophy  Explained all of animal world and most of human behavior (from

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10  Descartes reply: uh, yeah, there’s like these ‘animal spirit’ things…and, uh, they sort of connect up to the brain via the pineal gland….Yeah, that’s the ticket.  Some of Descartes’ followers just give up: “God did it.”  Modern science doesn’t believe in substance dualism anyway. There’s only one kind of stuff in the universe ( materialism, physicalism).

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21 Isaac Newton, destroyer of body  Descartes had a notion of ‘body’ – mechanical philosophy  Newton tries to extend this to planetary motion, but ends up destroying the concept.  Things can interact without there being direct contact (i.e., gravity)

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24  Since we know we don’t have the ‘right’ or ‘ultimate’ view of what the physical universe actually is, you can’t say for definite that something (like thoughts) in principle falls outside its limits.

25  We can’t yet explain (in terms of quantum mechanics) how water flows down a drain, but philosophers don’t think that raises a ‘plumbing/body’ problem

26  You just divide the world up into research areas that seem to make sense, where you have facts that seem to fall together, and you try to gain some under- standing. So it looks like there’s phenomena in the world that look electrical, and chemical, and mental.


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