Introduction and Context:In describing what philosophy does, I’ve heard Prof. Todd Jones (of UNLV) say “philosophy is usually about one of two things: Things that are so abstract and obscure that most people wouldn’t bother to think about them, and things that are so obvious that most people wouldn’t bother to think about them.” Substance […]Read More Brain Damage, Mind Damage, and Dualism (Phelan, Mandelbaum, and Nichols)
Introduction and Context:In the previous post we got a quick introduction to substance dualism (aka Cartesian dualism), the idea that the mind/soul and the body are not one and the same and are therefore fundamentally distinct substances. That is, your brain is not your mind and your mind is not your brain. We looked at […]Read More How Can Souls Move Bodies? Descartes and Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia
Introduction and Context:Watch the Video first: http://youtube.googleapis.com/v/9CqbO_5FKRc&source=uds https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CqbO_5FKRc So, is the brain the mind? Is the mind the brain? Are they separate things? If so, are you your brain or your mind? Or are you somehow both but they aren’t the same thing? Are you confused? Poor Karl. Lets try to help him clear up […]Read More Descartes and Philosophy of Mind: The Conceivability Argument and the Divisibility Argument
Introduction and Context: Locke and Primary and Secondary PropertiesTo really understand Berkeley’s arguments, you have to understand what issues and positions he was responding to. Descartes left us with a problem: Since we can never “get out of our own heads,” how do we know that our ideas and perceptions of the external world of […]Read More Berkeley: The Argument for Idealism and the Argument Against Skepticism
Introduction to Descartes Meditation IDescartes’ Meditations is one of the most important works in modern philosophy (i.e., 17th Century philosophy). It is the point of departure for many philosophical issues and debates up to and including the present. The overall aim of his project is to determine what we can know beyond any possible doubt; […]Read More Descartes and the First Meditation: What Can We Know for Sure?
Is The Fundamental Level of Reality Divided into Mind and Body? Or Are Mind and Body Two Aspects of an Even More Fundamental Reality? The answer to this question is the key distinction between Descartes and Spinoza. Lets unpack the two positions: In the Dualist view (Descartes) anything that exists is either an extended […]Read More Dueling with Dualism Part 1
Rambling Intro (As Usual) Ok, out with the Descartes, and in with the Spinoza. I want to see if I can start to break down a little bit of Spinoza’s metaphysics a) to see if I understand it and b) to help satiate my readers’ voracious appetite for 17th Century metaphysics. As usual […]Read More Meet Spinoza
This section of the sixth and final meditation is for me the most interesting and raises the most philosophical issues. I still remember when I first encountered it 12 years ago in my second philosophy class. Arguments For What My Senses Can and Can’t Tell Me About the World and Myself There is nothing […]Read More What Can A Pain in Your Butt Teach You About Metaphysics?
Descartes: Second Meditation Recap Lets very briefly recap the 1st meditation. Descartes says that if we really think about it, pretty much everything we know can be called into doubt. Knowledge is typically viewed as what we learn from experience but everything we experience when we (think we) are awake is exactly the same […]Read More What is the Only Thing You Can Know For Certain?
Hey y’all, I thought I’d do my best to lure in the non-philosophy types in an attempt to help you get your Descartes on. I’m doing a course on 17th Century philosophy and the first guy we’re studying is Descartes. A couple little facts on the fah-zhah of modern philosophy: 1. He was primarily interested […]Read More Descartes and the Origins of "The Matrix" and "Inception"