J. Shaffer: Questions about Dualism and Materialism

  1. The Foundation of the Problem: Substance (Cartesian) Dualism -

    1. Minds and bodies are distinct because they have different properties -

      1. Extension - Bodies are extended in space (and do not think)

      2. Consciousness - Minds are thinking things (and are not extended)

    2. Baruch Spinoza’s Critique: one substance may have distinct properties

    NOTE: if Descartes was wrong, what is the relationship between minds and bodies?

  2. Problems for Dualism - What are the essential properties of Minds?

    1. Problem of Identification - What is a mind, anyway?

    2. Problem of Individuation - How do we distinguish one Mind from another?

  3. Problems for Materialism - Has Minimalism gone too far?

    1. Eliminativism - we can't seem to do without Mind-talk

    2. Reductivism - In what sense are Minds and Brains identical?

    NOTE: Leibniz Law - two things are identical when they share all the same properties (For any two things ‘x’ and ‘y’, x = y if and only if, for any property ‘F’, Fx = Fy.)

    Question: Can the Reductivist answer the following question: "Do mental things have all the same properties as physical things?"

  4. Dualism Reconsidered -

    1. Can Materialism give a complete account of material things?

    2. Is Property Dualism an acceptable compromise?

Return to Notes Index
return to Barry's HP