- The question of the nature of the relationship between someone's mind and body has been on the philosophical agenda at least since Socrates. It has been remarkably refractory. If one has a mind and has a body, who or what is it that possesses such things? Is it one's mind that has a body or one's body that has a mind? Or is it the self that has both? Or the person?
- Scrutiny of the misleading possessive form of representation sheds light on the matter. To have a mind, as Aristotle already knew, is to possess an array of rational powers of intellect and will. To have a body is to possess an array of somatic characteristics. The possessor is the living human being.
- Human beings are living organisms, self-moving, rational substances consisting of matter. So they are bodies. But the body one is must not be confused with the body one has (one cannot have what one is). Since the mind one has is not a thing of any kind, and the body one has is merely a set of somatic properties, there is no relation between someone's mind and body, any more than there is a relation between being green and having the value of five pounds. But, of course, one can have a variety of attitudes towards one's body and towards one's mind.
- This is the YouTube abstract – there is no abstract in the book.
- I found the YouTube podcast easily the most entertaining of the series – Hacker brings off the discussion in the various voices excellently.
- That said, I’m not sure how much value it has other than – as the title suggests – as an entertainment for those knowledgeable about the issues.
- But the conclusion – that mental states are only attributable to the whole person rather than to parts (in particular, the brain) – is taken up and strenuously rejected by "Crane (Tim) - The Mental States of Persons and their Brains" later in this series.
- There’s a follow-up dialogue in Philosophy 89 (2014), 511-535. I don’t yet have access to this paper.
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