A flame bums the skin there is pain; because of the pain we act to protect the body by moving the limb from the fire' But this is precisely where we need to hold firm to the clear distinction between mind and body.
This article describes how unrealistic standards of attractiveness set by Western society are internalized by women from a variety of cultural backgrounds and translated into fat-phobia and body dissatisfaction and then discusses alternative cultural influences for food refusal such as issues of control, acculturation, and religious asceticism.
Descartes presented his results in major works published during hislifetime: the Discourse on the Method (in French, 1637), withits essays, the Dioptrics, Meteorology, andGeometry; the Meditations on First Philosophy (i.e.,on metaphysics), with its Objections and Replies (in Latin,1641, 2nd edn. 1642); the Principles of Philosophy, covering his metaphysicsand much of his natural philosophy (in Latin, 1644); and thePassions of the Soul, on the emotions (in French, 1649).Important works published posthumously included his Letters(in Latin and French, 1657–67); World, or Treatise onLight, containing the core of his natural philosophy (in French,1664); Treatise on Man (in French, 1664), containing hisphysiology and mechanistic psychology; and the Rules for theDirection of the Mind (in Latin, 1701), an early, unfinished workattempting to set out his method.
Materialist views say that, despite appearances to the contrary,mental states are just physical states. Behaviourism, functionalism,mind-brain identity theory and the computational theory of mind areexamples of how materialists attempt to explain how this can beso. The most common factor in such theories is the attempt toexplicate the nature of mind and consciousness in terms of theirability to directly or indirectly modify behaviour, but there areversions of materialism that try to tie the mental to the physicalwithout explicitly explaining the mental in terms of itsbehaviour-modifying role. The latter are often grouped together underthe label ‘non-reductive physicalism’, though this labelis itself rendered elusive because of the controversial nature of theterm ‘reduction’.
René Descartes (1596–1650) was a creative mathematicianof the first order, an important scientific thinker, and an originalmetaphysician. During the course of his life, he was a mathematicianfirst, a natural scientist or “natural philosopher” second, and ametaphysician third. In mathematics, he developed the techniques thatmade possible algebraic (or “analytic”) geometry. In naturalphilosophy, he can be credited with several specific achievements:co-framer of the sine law of refraction, developer of an importantempirical account of the rainbow, and proposer of a naturalisticaccount of the formation of the earth and planets (a precursor to thenebular hypothesis). More importantly, he offered a new vision of thenatural world that continues to shape our thought today: a world ofmatter possessing a few fundamental properties and interactingaccording to a few universal laws. This natural world included animmaterial mind that, in human beings, was directly related to thebrain; in this way, Descartes formulated the modern version of themind–body problem. In metaphysics, he provided arguments for theexistence of God, to show that the essence of matter is extension, andthat the essence of mind is thought. Descartes claimed early on topossess a special method, which was variously exhibited in mathematics,natural philosophy, and metaphysics, and which, in the latter part ofhis life, included, or was supplemented by, a method of doubt.
Descartes reveals his ontology implicitly in the Meditations,more formally in the Replies, and in textbook fashion in thePrinciples. The main metaphysical results that describe thenature of reality assert the existence of three substances, eachcharacterized by an essence. The first and primary substance is God,whose essence is perfection. In fact, God is the only true substance,that is, the only being that is capable of existing on its own. Theother two substances, mind and matter, are created by God and can onlyexist through his ongoing act of preservation or conservation, calledGod's “concurrence” (Princ. I.51).
Building on his claim that clear and distinct perceptions are true,Descartes seeks to establish various results concerning the nature ofreality, including the existence of a perfect God as well as thenatures of mind and matter (to which we turn in the next subsection).Here we must ask: What is the human mind that it can perceive thenature of reality? Descartes has a specific answer to this question:the human mind comes supplied with innate ideas that allow it toperceive the main properties of God (infinity and perfection), theessence of matter, and the essence of mind. For readers in Descartes'day, this claim would naturally raise a further question: assumingthat these innate ideas concern “eternal truths” about God, matter, and mind, do these truths hold independently of God, or do they instead reflect the contents of God's own intellect?
Descartes explicitly responds to the charge of circularity in themanner just described. Over the years, scholars have debated whetherthis response is adequate. Some scholars have constructed otherresponses on Descartes' behalf or have found such responses embeddedin his text at various locations. One type of response appeals to adistinction between the natural light and clear and distinctperception, and seeks to vindicate the natural light without appeal toGod (Jacquette 1996). Another response suggests that, in the end,Descartes was not aiming at metaphysical certainty concerning amind-independent world but was merely seeking an internally coherentset of beliefs (Frankfurt 1965). A related response suggests thatDescartes was after mere psychological certainty (Loeb 1992). Theinterested reader can follow up this question by turning to theliterature here cited (as also Carriero 2008, Doney 1987, andHatfield 2006).
Descartes had a different account. He held that the eternal truths are thefree creations of God (1:145, 149, 151; 7:380, 432), originating from himin a way that does not distinguish among his power, will, and intellect. God decides whatthe essence of a circle is, or to make 2 + 3 = 5. He might have createdother essences, although we are unable to conceive what theymight have been. Our conceptual capacity is limited to the innate ideasthat God has implanted in us, and these reflect the actual truths thathe created. God creates the eternal truths (concerning logic,mathematics, the nature of the good, the essences of mind and matter),and he creates the human mind and provisions it with innate ideas thatcorrespond to those truths. However, even in this scheme there mustremain some eternal truths that are not created by God: those that pertain to the essence of God himself, including his existenceand perfection (see Wells 1982).
And it is precisely at this point that we encounter the essence of the mind-body problem and one reason why it has proved so intractable to rational enquiry.
In reply, Descartes claims that he has already supplied such amethod (7:379). What could he have in mind? It cannot be the simple belief that one has attained clarity and distinctness, for Descartes himselfacknowledges that individuals can be wrong in that belief (7:35, 361).Nonetheless, he does offer a criterion. We have a clear and distinctperception of something if, when we consider it, we cannot doubt it(7:145). That is, in the face of genuine clear and distinct perception,our affirmation of it is so firm that it cannot be shaken,even by a concerted effort to call the things thus affirmedinto doubt.