Mind-Body Problem


Perhaps the hottest topic in Anglo-American philosophy
these days is the mind-body problem, which arises
when one starts asking about the nature of the mind. It
is called the mind-body problem because the answers
to this question generally fall into one of the two broad
categories, depending on how one conceives of the
relation between the mind and the body. On the one
hand, there are physicalist (or materialist) theories of
mind, according to which the mind is identical to, or in
some way reducible to, the physical brain. On the other
hand, there are dualist theories of mind, according to
which the mind, although certainly connected to the
brain in some way, is itself something non-physical. In
this course, we will look at the pros and cons of these
theories, beginning with the 16th century French philosopher
Rene Descartes and then jumping to the work
that has been done on this since the mid-20th century.

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