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Philosophy of Mind: Part 5, Living in the Material World

By Frank Simons

Despite its initial plausibility, “Dualism” has been shown to have basic conceptual problems, primarily, the interaction problem; how can two radically distinct realms possibly interact? Philosophers have made valiant efforts to save Dualism, but, to the contemporary eye, these attempts look futile. What are our options if we abandon Dualism? Do we have options?

Video Presentation
Philosophy of Mind: Part 5, Living in the Material World
By Frank Simons
Thu, Jul 6, 5:30 pm
Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted

This lecture will present a range of intellectual options, from the idea the universe is purely mental, to Idealism, and to the view the universe is purely physical, Materialism. Below is a list of positions. Which of them do you think is true?

Cartesian Dualism: The universe consists of two radically different substances, mental and physical.

Epiphenomenalism: The mind floats above the brain but has no causal effect on it. Occasionalism: There is no causal link between the mental and physical, but God intervenes on every occasion to make it appear there is.

Parallelism: There is no causal link between the mental and physical. It appears a link exists because God set the two realms working in parallel at the beginning of the Universe.

Idealism: Everything that exists is ultimately mental.

Solipsism: Everything and everyone exists only in one’s mind.

Materialism: Everything that exists is ultimately physical.

Reductive Materialism: The mental reduces to the physical. Mental states are a kind of brain state.

Eliminative Materialism: Our concepts for mental states—fears, hopes, beliefs—will be eliminated in an eventual science of human functioning, rejected as concepts of witches and humors are now.

Professor Patrick Grim, as Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, has provided his students with invaluable insights into issues of philosophy, artificial intelligence, theoretical biology, and other fields. Professor Grim was awarded the university’s Presidential and Chancellor’s awards for teaching excellence and was elected to the Academy of Teachers and Scholars.

There will be an opportunity for discussion following the video.

Presentations of the Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.


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