Conflicting Psychologies of Learning

By Boyd Henry Bode | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
THE MIND AS A SUBSTANCE OR ENTITY

According to traditional doctrine, mind and body form a sharp contrast. Mind has spontaneity, initiative, independence of action; body, or matter, is inert, passive, and acts only in so far as it is propelled from the outside. It happens that mind and matter are united in man, but the union is a union of opposites. It is, indeed, the strangest union in the world. The two members of the pair are as different as can be. Each is what the other is not.

The man in the street is not, as a rule, very keenly aware of any incongruity in the union of such a strangely assorted pair. He sees no reason why the mind or soul should not reside within the body and be carried about with the body from place to place. Why should not the mind or soul move about in space in the same way as the body? The common-sense man would agree with the philosopher Locke when he says:

"Every one finds in himself that his soul can think, will, and operate on his body in the place where that is, but cannot operate on a body or in a place a hundred miles distant from it. Nobody can imagine that his soul can think or move a body at Oxford, whilst he is at London; and cannot but know that, being united to his body, it constantly changes place all the whole journey between Oxford and London, as the coach or horse does that carries him, and I think may be said to be truly all that while in motion; or if that will not be allowed to afford us a clear idea enough of its motion, its being separated from the body in death, I think, will;

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