The Philosophy of Human Nature

By Howard P. Kainz | Go to book overview

6
Is Human Nature a Unity
or a Duality?

Is there any principle in all nature more mysterious than the union
of soul with body; by which a supposed spiritual substance
acquires such an influence over a material one, that the most
refined thought is able to actuate the grossest matter? Were we
empowered, by a secret wish, to remove mountains, or control the
planets in their orbit; this extensive authority would not be more
extraordinary, nor more beyond our comprehension.

—DAVID HUME, An Enquiry Concerning Human
Understanding
7:1

Mental and physical events are, on all hands, admitted to present
the strongest contrast in the entire field of being. The chasm
which yawns between them is less easily bridged over by the mind
than any interval we know. Why, then, not call it an absolute
chasm, and say not only that the two worlds are different, but that
they are independent? I have heard a most intelligent biologist
say: 'It is high time for scientific men to protest against the recog-
nition of any such thing as consciousness in a scientific investiga-
tion' It is to my mind quite inconceivable that consciousness
should have nothing to do with a business which it so faithfully
attends. And the question, 'What has it to do?' is one which psy-
chology has no right to 'surmount,' for it is her plain duty to con-
sider it.

—WILLIAM JAMES, Psychology

-81-

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