Nature, Mind, and Death

Nature, Mind, and Death

Nature, Mind, and Death

Nature, Mind, and Death

Excerpt

The nature of the relation between mind and body, which is what this book ultimately attempts to clarify, has generally been discussed on the basis of criteria of mentality and materiality little if any sharper than those governing the employment of these two categories in ordinary conversation or literary writing. In the more or less stereotyped contexts in which the terms "mental" and "material" occur there, these unanalyzed criteria are good enough to guide application of one or the other term; but they are much too vague to be directly of much use for theoretical purposes -- for instance, to enable one to decide whether sensations or so- called sensa are to be classed as mental events or on the contrary as physical, or perhaps as neither. Yet this question turns out to be of crucial importance in connection with the problem of the nature of the mind-body relation.

The criterion that determines whether a given event is mental, or belongs to the material world, is what Chapters 13 and 14 attempt to discover. They are therefore in a way basic for the argument of the whole book. The other chapters of Part III devolop the implications of the outcome of these two chapters and of Part II, as concerns the nature, the constituents, and the operations of a mind, and the nature of the knowledge a mind has of material and other objective things and events.

The question whether the category of Substance is applicable to minds is one that inevitably crops up in discussions of the mind-

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