Article : Strawson On The Mind-Body Problem

Title

Strawson On The Mind-Body Problem

Author

Dr. Kakali Ghosh( Sengupta)

There are two different Kinds of things going on in the world: the things belonging to physical reality and the other things which belong to mental reality. Thus we make a distinction between the mental and the physical phenomenon. Philosophy of mind is that branch of philosophy which is concerned with the questions regarding the mind. Some of the questions are metaphysical and some are epistemological. The most fundamental metaphysical question in the philosophy of mind deals with the relationship between mental and physical phenomena. This very attempt gives rise to the mind-body problem. The importance of this problem lies in the truth that unless this problem receives some satisfactory solution, the very being of man cannot be made intelligible. This problem has been given a serious form in Descartes. Every philosopher at different times has realized the mind-body problem in some way or other and tried to offer solution to this problem. The mind-body problem stems from Descartes’ thinking. According to Descartes, mind and body are essentially different, though they often interact. The essence of mind is consciousness, which necessarily lacks extension, while body is necessarily extended. But in the being of man mind and body do interact. Hence the problem arises, how two essentially different entities-one being necessarily non-extended and other necessarily extended- could ever act upon each other. In this paper, I have tried to illucidate the ‘Person Theory’ of P.F. Strawson to find out an overall solution to the age long mind- body problem. P.F. Strawson , a British Philosopher tries to solve the mind-body problem by considering man to be an indivisible unit which he calls person. As a person, no man can be treated as a compound consisting of mind and body. A person is one to which material predicates (M-predicates) and mental predicates (P-predicates) can both be simultaneously applied. My attempt in this endeavor is to discuss the legitimacy of the person theory propounded by P.F. Strawson in his famous book Individuals.

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