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Anne Conway, , . Selections from the Principles of the Most Ancient and Modern Philosophy
1994, in Margaret Atherton (ed.) Women Philosophers of the Early Modern Period. Hackett Publishing Company. [originally written 1677]
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Added by: Alison Stone, Contributed by:

After the SEP: Anne Conway’s treatise is a work of Platonist metaphysics in which she derives her system of philosophy from the existence and attributes of God. The framework of Conway’s system is a tripartite ontological hierarchy of ‘species’, the highest of which is God, the source of all being. Christ, or ‘middle nature’, links God and the third species, called ‘Creature’. […] Anne Conway denies the existence of material body as such, arguing that inert corporeal substance would contradict the nature of God, who is life itself. Incorporeal created substance is, however, differentiated from the divine, principally on account of its mutability and multiplicity even so, the infinite number and constant mutability of created monads constitute an obverse reflection of the unity, infinity, eternity and unchangeableness of God. The continuum between God and creatures is made possible through ‘middle nature’, an intermediary being, through which God communicates life, action, goodness and justice. […] The spiritual perfectionism of Anne Conway’s system has dual aspect: metaphysical and moral. On the one hand all things are capable of becoming more spirit-like, that is, more refined qua spiritual substance. At the same time, all things are capable of increased goodness. She explains evil as a falling away from the perfection of God, and understands suffering as part of a longer term process of spiritual recovery. She denies the eternity of hell, since for God to punish finite wrong-doing with infinite and eternal hell punishment would be manifestly unjust and therefore a contradiction of the divine nature. Instead she explains pain and suffering as purgative, with the ultimate aim of restoring creatures to moral and metaphysical perfection. Anne Conway’s system is thus not just an ontology and but a theodicy.

Comment: This chapter could be used in a history of philosophy course as one week's reading. The author has a metaphysics that is often seen to anticipate that of Leibniz so one could, e.g., include a week on Conway in advance of a week or two (or three) on Leibniz.

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Balog, Katalin, , . Conceivability, possibility, and the mind-body problem
1999, Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
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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.

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Bordo, Susan, , . Anorexia Nervosa: Psychopathology as the Crystallization of Culture
1993, In her Unbearable Weight: Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Berkeley: University of California Press.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Diversifying Syllabi: Bordo claims that the recent increase in women with Anorexia is a symptom of the “central ills” of our culture. Bordo discusses three sources of this “cultural illness” which leads to anorexia: the dualist axis, the control axis, and the gender/power axis. She spends the bulk of the paper discussing each “axis” or problematic component of society which is reflected back to us in the increasing diagnosis of anorexia. These “psychopathogolgies” are expressions of the culture, she claims.

Comment: This text is most readily applicable in teaching feminist theory and social philosophy. However, it is also very useful in at least three other contexts: (1) as a critical approach to mind-body dualism, especially when teaching on Descartes or Plato's Phaedo; (2) in teaching on the ethics of mental illness and the anti-psychiatry movement, as an example of socially constructed disorders; and (3) more broadly in teaching on personal and collective moral responsibility.

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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]
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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.

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Gertler, Brie, , . In Defence of Mind-Body Dualism
2007, in Reason and Responsibility 13th edition (Feinberg & Shafer-Landau (eds.)). Wadsworth.
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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.

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Gertler, Brie, , . The Knowledge Argument
2005, In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. MacMillan.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The definitive statement of the Knowledge Argument was formulated by Frank Jackson, in a paper entitled ‘Epiphenomenal Qualia’ that appeared in The Philosophical Quarterly in 1982. Arguments in the same spirit had appeared earlier (Broad 1925, Robinson 1982), but Jackson’s argument is most often compared with Thomas Nagel’s argument in ‘What is it Like to be a Bat?’ (1974). Jackson, however, takes pains to distinguish his argument from Nagel’s. This entry will follow standard practice in focusing on Jackson’s argument, though I will also describe the main points of alleged similarity and dissimilarity between these two arguments.

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Jaegwon, Kim, , . The myth of non-reductive materialism
2003, Proceedings and Adresses of the American Philosophical Association 63(3): 31:47.
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Added by: Laura Jimenez, Contributed by:

Summary: This article explores the idea that we can assuage our physicalist qualms by embracing “ontological physicalism”, the claim that all that exists in space-time is physical, but, at the same time, accept “property dualism”, a dualism about psychological and physical attributes, insisting that psychological concepts or properties form an irreducible, autonomous domain. The issue the author explores is whether or not a robust physicalist can, consistently and plausibly, swear off reductionism – that is, whether or not a substantial form of physicalism can be combined with the rejection of psycho-physical reduction. The author argues that a middle-of-the road position of the sort just described is not available. More specifically, he claim that a physicalist has only two genuine options, eliminativism and reductionism.

Comment: This is a very important paper for both philosophy of mind and philosophy of science. Previous knowledge of key concepts such supervenience, physicalism or reductionism is needed to fully understand the paper. It is then more suitable for postgraduate students.

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Kim, Jaegwon, , . Philosophy of Mind (Third Edition)
2010, Boulder: Westview Press.
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Added by: Nick Novelli, Contributed by:

Publisher’s Note: The philosophy of mind has long been part of the core philosophy curriculum, and this book is the classic, comprehensive survey of the subject. Designed as an introduction to the field for upper-level undergraduates and graduate students, Philosophy of Mind focuses on the mind-body problem and related issues, some touching on the status of psychology and cognitive science. The third edition has been thoroughly updated throughout to reflect developments of the past decade, and it is the only text of its kind that provides a serious and respectful treatment of substance dualism. This edition also includes two new chapters on the nature of consciousness and the status of consciousness. Improved readability and clarity has been one important aim of the new edition. Throughout the text, author Jaegwon Kim allows readers to come to their own terms with the central problems of the mind. At the same time, Kim’s own emerging views are on display and serve to move the discussion forward. Comprehensive, clear, and fair, Philosophy of Mind is a model of philosophical exposition and a significant contribution to the field.

Comment: An excellent textbook for an undergraduate introductory course on philosophy of mind, it offers a good overview of issues such as the mind/body problem, consciousness, and dualism.

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Kind, Amy, , . Pessimism About Russellian Monism
2015, Torin Alter & Yujin Nagasawa (eds.), Consciousness in the Physical World: Perspectives on Russellian Monism: 401-421
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Greg Miller

Abstract: From the perspective of many philosophers of mind in these early years of the 21st Century, the debate between dualism and physicalism has seemed to have stalled, if not to have come to a complete standstill. There seems to be no way to settle the basic clash of intuitions that underlies it. Recently however, a growing number of proponents of Russellian monism have suggested that their view promises to show us a new way forward. Insofar as Russellian monism might allow us to break out of the current gridlock, it’s no wonder that it’s become ‘hot stuff.’ To my mind, however, the excitement about Russellian monism is misplaced. Though some version of Russellian monism might well be true, I do not believe that it enables us to break free of the dualism/physicalism divide. As I will argue, once we properly understand what’s required to flesh out an adequate monistic story, we will see that we are in an important way right back where we started.

Comment: This text is a criticism of the view known as Russellian Monism. The text highlights that the physicalism/dualism dichotomy remains even in this 'alternative' view. The text is intermediate because it requires students to understand the complexity of the debate leading up to this paper. The paper itself is very accessible.

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