I emphasize practical in relation to causation

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Unformatted text preview: ther.[1] With the development of modern anatomy, physiology and psychology, the time is ripe for men boldly to say that applying the principle of causation in a practical manner leaves no doubt that mind and character are organic, are functions of the organism and do not exist independently of it. I emphasize "practical" in relation to causation because it would be idle for us here to enter into the philosophy of cause and effect. Such discussion is not taken seriously by the very philosophers who most earnestly enter into it. [1] William James in Volume 1 of his "Psychology" gives an interesting resume of the theories that consider the relationship of mind (thought and consciousness) to body. He quotes the "lucky" paragraph from Tyndall, "The passage from the physics of the brain to the corresponding facts of consciousness is unthinkable. Granted that a definite thought and a definite molecular action in the brain occur simultaneously; we do not possess the intellectual organ, or apparently any trace of the organ which would enable us to pass by a process of reasoning from one to the other." This is the "parallel" theory which postulates a hideous waste of energy in the universe and which throws out of count the same kind of reasoning by which Tyndall worked on light, heat, etc. We cannot understand the beginning and the end of motion, we cannot understand causation. Probably when Tyndall's thoughts came slowly and he was fatigued he said--"Well, a good cup of coffee will make me think faster." In conceding this practical connection between mind and body, every "spiritualist" philosopher gives away his case whenever he rests or eats. The statement that mind is a function of the organism is not necessarily "materialistic." The body is a living thing and as such is as "spiritualistic" as life itself. Enzymes, internal secretions, nervous activities are the products of cells whose powers are indeed drawn from the ocean of life. To prove this statement, which is a cardinal thesis of this book, I shall...
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