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materialism and all that

Phil Roberts, Jr. philrob at ix.netcom.com
Wed Apr 7 09:02:15 EST 1999

Ray Scanlon wrote:
> Hermital wrote in message <370A4AFA.76B4 at livingston.net>...
> >On Tue 4/6/99 13:02 -0400 Ray Scanlon wrote:
> >>
> >> How is the soul (mind) related to the body (brain)? That is the central
> >> question of materialism at the end of this century.
> >
> >Actually, it has been a central question since Descartes articulated the
> >Mind/Body problem in the 17th century CE
> In western philosophy precedence is usually given to Anaxagoras. In any
> event the soul/body question is thoroughly explored in the Phaedo. The
> substitution of mind for soul is a euphemism from the first half of the
> nineteenth century.
> Descartes went too far when he attempted to have the soul communicate with
> the body through the pineal. (Any other nucleus would have been just as
> bad.) The Princess Elizabeth pointed this out when she asked (in effect) how
> the incorporeal soul could introduce energy into a closed system (the
> universe). He had no ready answer.

But you don't want to forget that: 

  a. A scientists job is not to engage in metaphysics but to try to 
     assemble a coherent correspondent "theory" which entails ALL 
     of the intersubjectively reproducible data from global warming
     to feelings of worthlessness.
  b. The explosion of PHYSICAL science compared to the basket case
     of psychical science (psychology) can be explained 
     without recourse to metaphysical speculation, e.g., physical 
     science is easier to do.

  c. Our BELIEF in physical causation (e.g., 
     the ghostlike "substance" referred to as
     energy) is a twice removed inference from our experiences 
     with the mind's or soul's affectations and effectations.
     So the immaterial better be able to affect the material 
     since its the only direct experience of causation we have.

Phil Roberts, Jr.

Feelings of Worthlessness and So-Called Cognitive Science

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