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Montero, Barbara. The body problem
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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.


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