Chapter 6 : The Mind-Body Problem


The topics of this and the next chapter share a few things in common.  One of the more interesting things is that most people raised in the last half of the twentieth century are probably carrying two different sets of ideas with regard to both the idea of the human mind and to that of human freedom.  Many people are operating with ideas that are inconsistent and some that are outright contradictions of one another.  The stories or "myths" concerning "mind" and "freedom" cannot all be true at the same time.  In this chapter, and in the next as well, the inconsistencies and conflicts will be noted and then explored.  For many thinkers these are some of the most perplexing issues in Philosophy.  Certainly these topics are associated with a core list of issues that are termed "perennial".  These questions arise within each culture.  They have been approached from different perspectives.  Answers have been offered.  No one answer or solution has gained acceptance by an overwhelming majority of thinkers let alone worldwide acceptance.  So prepare yourself to explore important matters.  These materials might cause you to reexamine your beliefs and alter your position. Be prepared to become a little unsettled.  For some you may be more than just a little disturbed.  You may be disturbed that beliefs you have held may need to be reexamined or abandoned.  You may be disturbed that there is no one official correct answer to the questions that you will confront.  So it is with many questions in Philosophy, some of which you have already experienced.   It could just be that despite the fact that a great many people derive great comfort from these commonly held beliefs, that these beliefs may, nonetheless, be untrue!  What is to be put in their place if you find that you can no longer hold to what you once believed?  The questions are basic.  The answers are very difficult to explain and defend.

Do you have a mind?

What makes you think so?

Do you have free will?

What makes you think so?

Proceed to the next section.

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Introduction to Philosophy by Philip A. Pecorino is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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