1996

 

 

 

The Mind-Brain Problem

The mind-brain problem, which is still with us, raises the question as to whether the mind is no more than the idle side-effect of our brain processes or whether the mind can, in some degree, influence behaviour.

Here we rehearse the arguments on both sides plus some desperate recent attempts to eliminate mind altogether.

What Are Minds For?

Two positions on the mind-body problem are here compared: Materialism, which is here taken to mean the thesis that mind plays no part in the determination of behaviour so that, for all the good it does us, we might just as well have evolved as insentient automata, and Ineractionism which is here taken as its contradictory.

It is argued that Materialism is more consonant with scientific knowledge and practice, Interactionism with common sense and morality, hence which we favour must depend for the time being on our personal philosophical bias.

 

 

Mind-body interactionism in the light of the parapsychological evidence

My starting point is, in a sense, the reverse of that adopted by Descartes and, after him, by all the philosophers belonging to the classic empiricist tradition. They took the view that mind alone, or, at any rate, the ideas that were regarded as the constituents of mind, could be known with certainty; matter and material objects, on the contrary, could be known only indirectly, as the putative causes of our sense-experience or alternatively as constructs of our physical theories.

Could There be a Physical Explanation for Psi?

A question that constantly arises is where parapsychology rightly belongs in the array of the sciences. More particularly, could parapsychology be subsumed under physics, either as it exists or as it may yet become?

 

 

Parapsychology and Radical Dualism

Having in a previous paper given my reasons for doubting whether there could be a physical explanation for psi, I now argue that, since this disposes of physicalism the existence of psi, if it does exist, leaves us with no viable option other than radical dualism.

 

 

John.Beloff@ed.ac.uk

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