RE: MD Making sense of it (levels)

From: Patrick van den Berg (
Date: Tue Feb 04 2003 - 23:38:30 GMT

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    --- David Buchanan <> wrote:
    > Steve, Joao, Platt, Wim and all:
    > Steve asked:
    > I don't understand how the MOQ dissolves the mind-body problem. As I
    > understand it, the mind-body problem is the question of how my willing
    > my
    > hands to type causes my hands to type. Is that right? Could you
    > explain.
    > To which Joao offered this:
    > The mind and the body split in the XVII century. Descartes based his
    > conception of nature on the division between the "res cogitans"
    > "thinking
    > thing" and the "res extensa", the "extense thing". (snip)

    Descartes occured earlier in the MoQ, a few months ago. Some thread
    dealt about the nature of scientific knowledge. It was concluded, by
    quoting Descartes himself: The twentieth Century-error was to see the
    findings of science as objective truth. Descartes, however, saw science
    as a method, an instrument to 'deal' with nature, thus not as a source
    to obtain truth form.

    What I wanted to add here, is a little intellectual history concerning
    the mind and body split. I quote from a Dutch book on Aquino from 1946
    (which I bought for less than a dollar (euro!) on a book-marketplace),
    by a certain Dr. Hoogveld: "Before Plato and Augustinus, [...] man is in
    essence mind or soul and the body is just an instrument." It was Aquino,
    in the 13th century, who brought mind and body closer together again...
    only to be seperated by Descartes again, I wonder?
    The meaning of the mind-body split before (and in) Plato was based on a
    belief that the mind could conceive of 'non-substantial' things or
    Ideas. To Plato, according to Hoogveld's interpretation of Aquino on
    Plato (don't you just love philosophology ? ;-), the body was a
    'stand-in-the-way' in conceiving Reality. The mind or soul was hindered
    by the body to get in contact with the Realm of Ideas. To Aquino, the
    body was a valueable instrument to be used by the soul to elevate it
    towards God.

    Thus, although Aquino and Descartes both emphasized that the body is an
    instrument, they differed diametrically in their goal. To Aquino, the
    goal was illumination of the Soul, what we call the subject. To
    Descartes, the goal was to illuminate Nature, or Substance, composed of
    Objects in a pragmatic (instrumental) way ... (and this conception has
    given us modern science and technology...)

    So far a little dive in the sea of philosophology. Greetings, Patrick.

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