Tag Archives: Philosophy of Mind

An Advaitin Questions Berkeley

One of Berkeley’s central metaphysical theses is that spirit and perceivables differ toto caelo from one another — perceivables (“Ideas”) are passive, inert; they’re what appears. But to appear, Berkeley notes, is a dative relation — every appearance is an appearance to. To … Continue reading

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Why fMRI scans explain not one human behavior

A therapist once tried to explain to me why people in states of extreme anger aren’t able to reason: if you monitor the brain of someone in such a state on an fMRI scan, you’ll see the frontal cortex — … Continue reading

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Spinoza on Mind and Body

In part II of his Ethics, Spinoza offers some striking reflections on the mind’s relation to the body, two aspects of which I’ll note here. First, he defines the body (corpus) as “Obiectum ideae humanam mentem constituentis” (the object of the … Continue reading

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Aristotle’s Bifocal View of the Passions

Early in book 1 of De Anima, Aristotle considers how to characterize the passions, and concludes, “τὰ πάθη λόγοι ἔνυλοί εἰσιν” (403a26). Passions are “reasons embedded in matter.” For example, he suggests that anger can appropriately be depicted a series of … Continue reading

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Placing Nature in the “Space of Reasons”

I’ve expressed my admiration here before for McDowell’s development of Sellars’s distinction of the “space of nature” from the “space of reasons,” but I’ve also criticized him for side-stepping the metaphysical problems that arise from his determination to see the … Continue reading

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Predicting vs. Deciding: Hume’s Determinism

Hume makes no secret that he is a determinist, in a Newtonian mold: “It is universally allowed that matter, in all its operations, is actuated by a necessary force” (Inquiry, 91). One billiard ball of matter moves another, and so … Continue reading

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