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Resolving the Mind-Body Problem (1hr)

Published on Feb 12, 2014,  Peter Hacker talks about resolving the Mind-Body Problem. The questions the nature of the relationship between someone’s mind and body has been on the philosophical agenda at least since Socrates. It has been remarkably refractory. If one has a mind and has a body, who or what is it that possesses such things? Is it one’s mind that has a body or one’s body that has a mind? Or is it the self that has both? Or the person?

Scrutiny of the misleading possessive form of representation sheds light on the matter. To have a mind, as Aristotle already knew, is to possess an array of rational powers of intellect and will. To have a body is to possess an array of somatic characteristics. The possessor is the living human being.

Human beings are living organisms, self-moving, rational substances consisting of matter. So theyare bodies. But the body one is must not be confused with the body one has (one cannot have what one is). Since the mind one has is not a thing of any kind, and the body one has is merely a set of somatic properties, there is no relation between someone’s mind and body, any more than there is a relation between being green and having the value of five pounds. But, of course, one can have a variety of attitudes towards one’s body and towards one’s mind.


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