rebus 30th anniversary debuts of the month
Search our site
Moonlight Over Manhattan by Sarah Morgan Read the opening extract of the brand new Sarah Morgan book before its publication on 05/10/2017

Descartes and the Metaphysics of Human Nature by Justin Skirry
  

Descartes and the Metaphysics of Human Nature

Part of the Continuum Studies in Philosophy Series

RRP £120.00

Synopsis

Descartes and the Metaphysics of Human Nature by Justin Skirry

The traditional account of mind/body union attributed to Descartes supposes that the immaterial, thinking mind and the material, non-thinking body interact by means of efficient causation - that the mind causes events in the body, e.g. the voluntary raising of an arm, and vice versa, e.g. the visual sensation of a tree. But this gives rise to a notorious philosophical problem: how can this causal interaction occur between the spiritual mind and the physical body since they have absolutely nothing in common and cannot come into contact with one another?Justin Skirry's book shows how Descartes in fact avoids this enormous problem. Skirry argues, through a critical re-examination of Cartesian metaphysics, that the union of mind and body is not, as most scholars have always maintained, constituted by efficient causal interaction for Descartes, because this would not result in one, complete human nature but in an aggregate of two numerically distinct natures. Descartes argues in the 6th Meditation and elsewhere that mind/body union is constituted by what the scholastics called a 'substantial union', i.e. the union that form (mind) has with matter (body). This substantial union produces a whole that is more than the sum of its parts; the capacity for modes of sensation and voluntary bodily movement are emergent properties of the whole, substantially united mind and body. Therefore, the 'Cartesian' problem of mind-body efficient causal interaction is avoided altogether, since efficient causal occurrences between mind and body play no role in explaining the existence of these modes.

Reviews

'Skirry's book is an excellent synthesis of patient scholarship and sober philosophy: it illustrates the power and importance of approaching famous texts and philosophical problems with historical sensitivity.'
Jan A. Cover, Purdue University

About the Author

Justin Skirry (Ph.D., Purdue) teaches philosophy at William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey. He has published six papers in the Journal of the History of Philosophy, History of Philosophy Quarterly and elsewhere.

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

27th November 2005

Author

Justin Skirry

More books by Justin Skirry
Author 'Like for Like'
    recommendations

Publisher

Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC

Format

Hardback
190 pages

Categories

Philosophy: metaphysics & ontology
Western philosophy: c 1600 to c 1900

ISBN

9780826486370

Lovereading has given me the opportunity to delve into new and exciting worlds of authors who I would never have tried before.

Glynis Elliott

The selections are so varied and the reader reviews are so helpful. A fantastic website for those who love books.

Ann Quintilla

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

I 'Lovereading' because it lets me see what new books are around with a detailed synopsis and readers' reviews.

Judith Sharp

A well laid out site, I love the fact that is separates paranormal fiction from fantasy and horror, which other sites don't.

Jen Rainbow

I love that Lovereading handpicks very special debut reads.

Magda North

My horizons have been broadened by some of the books I have been lucky to review and I expect it to be no different in the future.

Daran Bellingham

Lovereading is a world of books. It has everything you need from new to old and much loved classic books. It even give you recommendations!

Kate Thurston

Lovereading4kids

Lovereading4schools