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By D. Cockburn

This publication differs from others through rejecting the dualist technique linked specifically with Descartes. It additionally casts severe doubt at the sorts of materialism that now dominate English language philosophy. Drawing particularly at the paintings of Wittgenstein, a relevant position is given to the significance of the inspiration of a person in our considered ourselves and others.

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Additional info for An Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind: Souls, Science and Human Beings

Example text

I say ‘can hardly’. My suspicion is that this is precisely what most of us are inclined to do. 4. Value, science and the immaterial My claim has not been that we do not have to draw from the reported phenomena the conclusions that commonly are drawn. It is, rather, that further work needs to be done at a number of points if it is to be shown that the phenomena give us any reason at all to draw these conclusions. The idea that they give us such a reason is, I have suggested, dependent on an illusion that I have tried to expose.

Again, there is, on the face of it, no reason to suppose that a being that cannot be seen or touched is likely to be more morally or religiously elevated, more worthy of respect, than one that can. The linking of the immaterial in that sense with the idea of ‘spiritual’ value stands in need of defence. If there is a difficulty in the idea that value is to be found in the normal world of stones, trees and human beings, it needs to be shown that exactly the same difficulty does not arise for the world which it is suggested is revealed to us by the paranormal.

If we need the argument from analogy to justify our beliefs about the mental life of others then there is, it seems, room for legitimate disagreement in cases in which most of us would think there is no such room: room, for example, for legitimate disagreement about whether dogs feel pain. Now it might be thought that the situation can be saved by an appeal to the idea that certain bodily similarities and differences are obviously relevant and others obviously irrelevant. But in what sense are the distinctions here ‘obvious’?

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