Solipsism? Haven't thought about it seriously since I was
in high school.
If anyone's keeping score, I'm an epiphenomenalist
The mind-body problem goes something like this. Intuition says that mind and body are composed of different "stuff" -- Descartes noted that he could picture himself existing completely without a body: "Cognito ergo sum" = "I think, therefore I am." All notions of reincarnation, afterlife, and incorporeal spirits/souls rely on this idea. .
Yet, this "dualist" view leads to the problem of how to account for the ability of mind/spirit/soul to affect the material world. How is it possible for mere thought, without mass or location or any material energy, to move muscles? Philosophical dualists write volumes to account for this.
The opposing view is that mind and body are not really composed
of different "stuff." The problem for this "monistic" view is to account
for the intuitions of Descartes and most everyone else that one's mind and
body seem like separate entities. Volumes of philosophical treatises try
to support this view, too.
Maybe it's just that I'm too young and idealistic ;-), but I tend to think that the mind-body problem can be solved.
The whole postmodernist, deconstructionist, the-text-is-the-text angle leaves me cold. To me, it seems to be a conflation of ontology and epistemology
and no, I cannot imagine Sysiphus happy.
Is this meta-discussion itself a little too abstract to be useful to this list?
Gee, I hate it when I'm Aristotelian
We have talked much here about individuality being a social creation, and one could conclude from that, I think, that our ideas of rationality are culturally derived. So let's first take a little test to see what extent our opinions on rationality comport with enlightenment standards.
1. Do you accept autonomy of the individual a central value. (i.e. is the individual the final arbiter of meaning, morals, and and the like)
2. Do you suspect that tradition is an impediment rather than doorway to rational thought? (Chronological snobbery--present ways of thinking are better than old ways)
3. Do you believe in the fact/value distinction? (i.e. facts are self-evident and capable of rational assessment; values are subjective)
4. Do you hold that by building upon a foundation of self-evident facts one can establish a world view that is obvious to all right minded people?
5. Do you believe that anything not build upon self-evident facts should be distrusted?
6. Do you think that anyone who does not accept or agree
with the above propositions is irrational and is probably acting out of personal
ulterior motives? (Anti-authoritarianism)
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