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Has philosophy adequately dealt with the mind-body problem? I am looking for a serious answer from a person who is genuinely passionate about philosophy and not mere deferrals of the question through cliche stances so abundantly available amongst hobbyist-philosophers. Not to worry I am not out to justify some sort of theological stance, I am merely curious if professional philosophers are still concerned by this question or its derivatives. I would be very grateful for a response.

October 21, 2010

Response from Richard Heck on October 22, 2010

I'm not sure what's meant by "adequately dealt with", but if it means something like, "Come up with an answer that satisfies a fairly large group of people", then no, I don't think so. But to the other question, whether philosophers today still care about the mind-body problem, the answer is undoubtedly that they are. You might start here: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/physicalism/. The problem isn't that no-one has any good ideas what to say about mind and body, it's rather that too many people have too many good ideas, and the problem is fantastically hard. So hard that some philosophers, such as Colin McGinn, have argued that human beings are cognitively incapable of solving it (just as, say, dogs are cognitively incapable of even fairly basic mathematics). I don't say McGinn is right, just that one shouldn't assume the contrary.


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