Combining Philosophers

Ideas for Michael Burke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Epicurus

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2 ideas

17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 5. Causal Argument
The soul cannot be incorporeal, because then it could neither act nor be acted upon [Epicurus]
     Full Idea: Those who say that the soul is incorporeal are speaking to no point; for if it were of that character, it could neither act nor be acted upon at all.
     From: Epicurus (Letter to Herodotus [c.293 BCE], 67)
     A reaction: This just is the causal argument, which is espoused by Papineau and other modern physicalists. Personally I am inclined to agree with Papineau, that it is so simple and conclusive that it is hardly worth discussing further. Dualism needs a miracle.
17. Mind and Body / E. Mind as Physical / 7. Anti-Physicalism / a. Physicalism critique
How can pleasure or judgement occur in a heap of atoms? [Sext.Empiricus on Epicurus]
     Full Idea: If Epicurus makes the end consist in pleasure and asserts that the soul, like all else, is composed of atoms, it is impossible to explain how in a heap of atoms there can come about pleasure, or judgement of the good.
     From: comment on Epicurus (fragments/reports [c.289 BCE]) by Sextus Empiricus - Outlines of Pyrrhonism III.187
     A reaction: This is a nice statement of the mind-body problem. Ontologically, physics still seems to present reality as a 'heap of particles', which gives no basis for the emergence of anything as strange as consciousness. But then magnetism is pretty strange.