Irina chose The Mind-Body Problem, by Jonathan Westphal, as she is interested in philosophical concepts “about the meeting place between body and consciousness, between palpable and impalpable”. While reading it, Irina also shares with you a microtonal, musical recommendation.
Philosophers from Descartes to Kripke have struggled with the glittering prize of modern and contemporary philosophy: the mind-body problem. The brain is physical. If the mind is physical, we cannot see how. If we cannot see how the mind is physical, we cannot see how it can interact with the body. And if the mind is not physical, it cannot interact with the body. Or so it seems.
“The mind is a non physical thing
The body is a physical thing
The mind & body interact
Physical and nonphysical things cannot interact
Of the 4 propositions, 3 can be true at the same time. If they are, the 4th is false.”– The Mind-Body Problem, Jonathan Westphal
In this book the philosopher Jonathan Westphal examines the mind-body problem in detail, laying out the reasoning behind the solutions that have been offered in the past and presenting his own proposal. The sharp focus on the mind-body problem, a problem that is not about the self, or consciousness, or the soul, or anything other than the mind and the body, helps clarify both problem and solutions.
Westphal outlines the history of the mind-body problem, beginning with Descartes. He describes mind-body dualism, which claims that the mind and the body are two different and separate things, nonphysical and physical, and he also examines physicalist theories of mind; antimaterialism, which proposes limits to physicalism and introduces the idea of qualia; and scientific theories of consciousness.
Qualia is also the notion that interested Irina Marinescu for some time, so she extracted the following excerpt from the book:
“The term “qualia” has an interesting and one might say chequered history. In the past the phrases and words “cogitationes”, “ideas”, “experiences”, “sense data”, “qualities”, “perceptions”, “sensations”, “properties of sensations”, “percepts”, “raw feels”, “nomological danglers”, “phenomenal properties”, and “qualitative properties” have been used to try to get at something approximately like the same idea.– The Mind-Body Problem – Jonathan Westphal
The confused history of the different terminologies is enough to alert the thoughtful student of recent philosophy to the fact that all is not as it should be in the kingdom of the qualia.”
Finally, Westphal examines the largely forgotten neutral monist theories of mind and body, held by Ernst Mach, William James, and Bertrand Russell, which attempt neither to extract mind from matter nor to dissolve matter into mind. Westphal proposes his own version of neutral monism. This version is unique among neutral monist theories in offering an account of mind-body interaction.
The book The Mind-Body Problem, by Jonathan Westphal is available in the CNDB Media Library. With a click here you can access the entire CNDB book collection, as well as video. If you are interested in any of the titles, we invite you to write an email to [email protected]
Who is Irina Marinescu?
Irina fell in love with contemporary dance in 2009. Since then, she has studied various dance practices and forms of the performing arts. She worked for CNDB, participated in the Academy of Cultural Management 2019 and is currently an independent artist and producer, being one of the founding members of the Developing Art association.
She collaborates with artists from different backgrounds to create contexts where authentic connections, experiment and emotion are the main ingredients. Find out more about Irina Marinenscu’s practice in the video below.
The series of recommendations made by artists from the CNDB Media Library continues!