Full text Read free See used
Balog, Katalin, , . Conceivability, possibility, and the mind-body problem
1999, Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called ‘the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As he puts it, ‘zombies’ are metaphysically possible. I attempt to show that this argument is refuted by considering an analogous argument in the mouth of a zombie. The conclusion of this argument is false so one of the premises is false. I argue at length that this shows that the original conceivability argument also has a false premise and so is invalid.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Elisabeth of Bohemia, , . Selections from her Correspondence with Descartes
1994, in Margaret Atherton (ed.) Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Hackett Publishing Company. [originally written 1643-1650]
Expand entry
Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

From the SEP:  Elisabeth presses Descartes on the relation between the two really distinct substances of mind and body, and in particular the possibility of their causal interaction and the nature of their union. They also correspond on Descartes’s physics, on the passions and their regulation, on the nature of virtue and the greatest good, on the nature of human freedom of the will and its compatibility with divine causal determination, and on political philosophy.

Comment: This chapter could be used in a history of philosophy course covering Descartes as one week’s reading, covering Elisabeth’s questions to Descartes about mind/body interaction. Note that the selections in Atherton’s collection are adequate for a Philosophy of Mind course, but students wishing to explore the issues in more detail might benefit from reading the full text.

Complimentary Texts/Resources:

Lisa Shapiro, “Princess Elizabeth and Descartes: The Union of Soul and Body and the Practice of Philosophy” – Shapiro explicates Elizabeth’s underlying view and objections and shows how to frame the issues in the correspondence as feminist issues and issues about philosophy and its culture.

Andrea Nye, “Polity and Prudence: the Ethics of Elisabeth, Princess Palatine” – Nye explores Elisabeth’s ethical views, as discovered via the correspondence.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Elisabeth of Bohemia, , Shapiro, Lisa (ed.). The Correspondence Between Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and Rene Descartes
2007, University of Chicago Press.
Expand entry
Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: Between the years 1643 and 1649, Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia and René Descartes exchanged fifty-eight letters—thirty-two from Descartes and twenty-six from Elisabeth. Their correspondence contains the only known extant philosophical writings by Elisabeth, revealing her mastery of metaphysics, analytic geometry, and moral philosophy, as well as her keen interest in natural philosophy. The letters are essential reading for anyone interested in Descartes’s philosophy, in particular his account of the human being as a union of mind and body, as well as his ethics. They also provide a unique insight into the character of their authors and the way ideas develop through intellectual collaboration. Philosophers have long been familiar with Descartes’s side of the correspondence. Now Elisabeth’s letters—never before available in translation in their entirety—emerge this volume, adding much-needed context and depth both to Descartes’s ideas and the legacy of the princess. Lisa Shapiro’s annotated edition—which also includes Elisabeth’s correspondence with the Quakers William Penn and Robert Barclay—will be heralded by students of philosophy, feminist theorists, and historians of the early modern period

Comment: This book contains the complete exchange of letters between Descartes and Princess Elisabeth. It can be used as further or supplementary reading on Descartes in a history of modern philosophy course; for example, if there was a week on Elisabeth’s questions to Descartes about mind and body, this could be assigned as further reading for students wanting to go into more depth.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Gertler, Brie, , . In Defence of Mind-Body Dualism
2007, in Reason and Responsibility 13th edition (Feinberg & Shafer-Landau (eds.)). Wadsworth.
Expand entry
Added by: Emily Paul, Contributed by: Helen De Cruz

Abstract: In this essay, I defend naturalistic dualism. I take, as my starting point, and argument made by Rene Descartes in his Meditations. I expand and defend this argument, drawing on some ideas developed by contemporary philosophers. The expanded argument is, I think, much more powerful than most physicalists recognize. After making my case for dualism, I offer some criticisms of physicalism. The paper will close by defending dualism from the charge that the picture of reality it proves is unacceptably spooky.

Comment: Excellent core reading for an introductory philosophy of mind course introducing dualism. It could be particularly helpful to work through the premises of the disembodiment argument, and ask students which (if any) they consider the most contentious ones. The paper is nicely divided into sections that either mount a particular defence of dualism, or respond to a particular objection to it. It could be a good to consider which of Gertler’s arguments they consider to be the strongest and weakest, and why. This could lead to a very productive discussion.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
McWeeny, Jennifer, , . Princess Elisabeth and the Mind-Body Problem
2011, in Michael Bruce & Steven Barbone (eds.), Just the Arguments: 100 of the Most Important Arguments in Western Philosophy. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 297-300.
Expand entry
Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Introduction: The mind – body problem exposes the inconsistencies that arise when mind and body are conceived as ontologically distinct entities. Human experience clearly shows that our minds interact with our bodies. Philosophers who reject the identity of mind and body or mind and brain face the task of explaining these relations by illuminating the precise manner in which the mind moves the body and the body affects the mind. It is unsurprising, then, that the mind – body problem was first articulated as a response to René Descartes’ dualistic philosophy […]

Comment: A very short piece that sets out Elisabeth’s core criticisms of Descartes’ mind/body dualism. Useful bibliography included. Can be used as part of a week’s reading on Descartes, Cartesian dualism, and/or Elisabeth’s responses to Descartes.

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options
Full text Read free See used
Montero, Barbara, , . The body problem
1999,
Expand entry
Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: It seems that a solution to the body problem, or at least one that helps us to better understand the mind-body problem, is not forthcoming. And I take it this indicates that, at least for the time being, we should focus on questions other than the question ‘Is the mind physical?’ To this end, I would like to suggest a question that, I think, highlights some of the central concerns of both physicalists and dualists. And this is the question of whether the mental is fundamentally non-mental. For it seems that physicalism is, at least in part, motivated by the belief that the mental is ultimately non-mental, that is, that mental properties are not fundamental properties, while a central tenet of dualism, precisely, that they are. Of course the notion of the non-mental is also open ended. And, for this reason, it may be just as difficult to see, what sort of considerations are relevant in determining what counts as non-mental as it is to see what sort of considerations could be relevant in determining what counts as physical. But, of course, this is a project for another paper. One advantage, however, is that, arguably, we do have a grasp of one side of the divide – that is, the mental side. So, perhaps, rather than worrying about whether the mind is fundamentally physical, we should be concerned with whether the mind is fundamentally non-mental. And this, I should mention, is a concern that has little to do with what current physics, future physics, or a final physics says about the world.

Comment: [This is a stub entry. Please add your comments to help us expand it]

Export citation in BibTeX format
Export text citation
View this text on PhilPapers
Export citation in Reference Manager format
Export citation in EndNote format
Export citation in Zotero format
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Plus Share on Pinterest Share by Email More options