Lonely Souls: Causality and Substance Dualism
Kim (Jaegwon)
Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 2
Paper - Abstract

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  1. In "Lonely Souls," Jaegwon Kim takes up just this2 worry. He examines several arguments against Cartesian dualism which are based on the criticism that Cartesian dualism cannot plausibly explain just how two things so utterly different as unextended souls and extended bodies can causally interact.
  2. Kim suggests that one way to flesh out the insight of such criticisms is in terms of a pairing relation that is excluded by the essential non-spatiality of souls and the essential spatiality of bodies.
  3. Kim argues that given the essential natures of souls and bodies, and given the nature of causality3, Cartesian dualism is unintelligible.

Philosophers Index Abstract
  1. Commentators have long claimed that Cartesian dualism is unable to account of mental causation4.
  2. The claim is that because of their essential diversity it is difficult to conceive how souls can causally influence bodies. But just what is the relevant diversity, and how does it preclude mind-body causation5?
  3. This paper provides an answer: it is the essential nonspatiality of the Cartesian souls that makes them unfit for causal relations with material bodies. Moreover, immaterial souls cannot enter into causal relations with other souls either.
  4. What this shows is that causal relations are possible only within a framework with space-like structure.


Section I: Cartesian Dualism

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 3.

Footnote 2: The problematic causal interaction of thinking and extended substances.

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  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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