More Philosophy of Mind

 Posted by on 4 October 2002 at 10:52 am  Uncategorized
Oct 042002

Bob Hanna, my philosophy of mind professor, graciously refused my proposed paper topic. He said that it was paper-worthy, but too big of a topic to tackle in a week. He’s probably right, unfortunately enough. Ah well, at least by writing on a standard topic, I’ll be able to watch football on Sunday.

I’m electing to write on Cartesian substance dualism, as such a paper will at least give me an understanding of the problems of a classic view in the history of philosophy. The topic is:

Are minds and bodies essentially different substances that nevertheless causally interact? First, briefly spell out and explicate the basic steps of Ren´ Descartes’s argument in the second Meditation for the thesis that he is essentially a thinking thing. Second, briefly spell out and explicate the basic steps of Descartes’s arguments in the sixth Meditation for the “real distinction between the mind and the body” and for causal interactionism (you can also use the excerpts from the Passions of the Soul). Third, answer the following question and give detailed reasons for your answer: Is Cartesian substance dualism true?

I’ll surely be blogging arguments against substance dualism this weekend that will later magically transform themselves into arguments for the paper.

I still would like to look at the issues in my proposed paper topic at some point in the future. But it certainly wouldn’t hurt me to have a bit more study under my belt before really attempting to sort out what the Objectivist view on these subjects ought to be! (Next semester, I’ll be continuing my studies in the philosophy of mind with a course on mental causation, again with the excellent Bob Hanna.)

On motivation for working on these issues sooner rather than later is that I really would love to submit a paper on philosophy of mind for the 2003 Advanced Seminar. The proposal and first draft would be due in late January, so I would have Christmas break to put something together based upon my writings this semester.

Of course, thanks to Will Wilkinson and Robert Campbell for their comments! I’ll have time to look at the particular suggestions after I complete this paper, which is due on Tuesday.

Update: Due to serious philosophic and moral objections, I am no longer associated with The Objectivist Center in any way, shape, or form. My reasons why can be found on my web page on The Many False Friends of Objectivism.

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