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Is the Mind a Physical Thing?
Wed 17 May 2017, 17:00 – 18:30 BST
"Is the Mind a Physical Thing?"
As part of the New Directions in the Study of the Mind project, Tim Crane, the Knightbridge Professor of Philosophy, will giving a public lecture.
Please do come along. All are welcome, though places are limited.
The lecture will take place in the Lucia Windsor Room,which is accessible from the Newnham College Porters' Lodge on Sidgwick Avenue. The lecture will be followed by a reception.
To answer the question of whether the mind is a physical thing requires us first to understand what is meant by ‘physical’ and ‘thing’. The traditional debate over the mind-body problem tends to take it for granted that these terms should be understood in the way they have been since the 17th century: those who these days assert the doctrine of physicalism or materialism take themselves to be disagreeing, for example, with Descartes. I argue that unless we accept the metaphysical assumptions behind this 17th century debate, the contemporary debate between dualists and physicalists/materialists loses a lot of its point; and that once we explicitly abandon these assumptions, we can see the way to the conclusion that there is no interesting sense in which the mind a physical thing.
Any questions? Get in touch by email.
Image adapted from The Nervous System: Diagram of the brain and the pineal gland, from Descartes's De Homine, Wellcome Library.