lecture 3

lecture 3 - Philosophy262 SomeProblemsfor CartesianDualism...

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Philosophy 262 Some Problems for  Cartesian Dualism
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Descartes’s argument for mind-body distinctness (dualism) (1) If I have a ‘vivid and clear’ thought of something x as existing apart from y, then it is possible for x to exist apart from y. (2) I have a ‘vivid and clear’ thought of myself as existing apart from my body. (3) Therefore, it is possible for me to exist apart from my body. (4) If it is possible for x to exist apart from y, then x is not the same thing as y. THEREFORE, (C) I am not the same thing as my body.
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Challenging Descartes’s premises (1) Why should our ability to have a ‘vivid and clear’ thought of something x as existing apart from y ensure that it is possible for x to exist apart from y? (2) Can we vividly and clearly think of ourselves as existing apart from our bodies?
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Establishing Premise (2) (1) My vivid and clear thought of myself is (solely) that of a thinking thing, and my vivid and clear thought of my (or any) body is (solely) that of an extended thing--a thing that takes up space. (2) There is no connection between (the V&C thoughts of) thought and extension. (3) If one has a V&C thought about x and a V&C thought about y, and there is no connection between them, then one has a V&C thought of x as existing apart from y. Therefore , (C) I can have a V&C thought of myself as existing apart from my body.
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(1) God--that is, a ‘perfect’ being--exists and has created us (and our capacity for thought). (2) No ‘perfect’ being could be a deceiver. (3) Therefore, God is not a deceiver. (4) If my vivid and clear thoughts do not correspond with reality, then God would be a deceiver. Therefore,
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This note was uploaded on 03/15/2012 for the course PHIL 262g taught by Professor Yaffe during the Spring '06 term at USC.

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lecture 3 - Philosophy262 SomeProblemsfor CartesianDualism...

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