Confucius and scepticism. Mind as a myth. #introphil

220px-Confucius_Tang_DynastyConfucius *)  heeft een kennisleer die niet is gebaseerd op de scheiding tussen lichaam en geest die (sinds Descartes) de Westerse filosofie beheerst. Gezien de moeite die het de Westerse filosofie kost om het scepticisme te weerleggen is het de moeite waard om die scheiding tussen lichaam en geest eens te onderzoeken.

Confucius*) is not a victim of the post-Cartesian superstition of mind as ‘ghost in the machine’ And as Western philosophy has great difficulties to counter skepticism, we could take a better look at this “ghost in the machine ‘ theory.

Als je van het duo lichaam en geest het lichaam wegdenkt, wat houden we dan nog over? Het idee van een gescheiden lichaam en geest is zo diep in onze filosofie  doorgedrongen dat het antwoord op deze eenvoudige vraag er moeilijk geworden is. 

If we subtract (body+mind)-body what is the answer? The mind-body duality has penetrated thought and philosophy. That is why  this simple question is hard to answer.


*) A.C. Graham, Disputers of the Tao, philosophical argument in ancient China, 1997, Open Court publ.  page 26


4 thoughts on “Confucius and scepticism. Mind as a myth. #introphil

  1. My (probably naive) view on this is that the answer is where the maths takes us ie = mind. But I’m interpreting ‘mind’ as a property of the physical brain, one that’s bound up with consciousness and certainly not well-understood. Interestingly, there are claims in the introphil forums that only humans have minds. I don’t think so – particularly when my dog has a mind to do a poo on the carpet!

  2. Hi Thank for the comments, you make me think better of this subject.
    Mind is a kind of metaphor (and in (US) English it is commonly used when people want to express they do think about something). If we use the word ‘mind’ for ‘brains’ or ‘self’ that is different from the believe that humans do have a mind and a body. Mind in that sense is a kind of spirit or a ghost in the machine.

  3. Yes I think so – and a good example of linguistic dangers! IMHO misunderstandings are reduced (I’m thinking of the introphil forums.) if an attempt is made to define loose ‘subjective’ terms like ‘mind’ or ‘meaning’ before using them in philosophical debate. Gordon.

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