A Compound of Two Substances
Olson (Eric)
Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 5
Paper - Abstract

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Summary1

    Some readers of Descartes are inclined to believe that he takes human beings to be neither immaterial souls nor material bodies, but rather objects having two parts: a soul-part and a body-part2. On such an interpretation, a human being thinks because her soul thinks, and a human being weighs thus and such because her body weighs thus and such. Eric Olson calls this view "compound dualism," and he argues in "A Compound of Two Substances" that compound dualism faces serious ontological problems that have nothing to do with the usual (causal) criticisms of dualism and that do not apply to construals of dualism according to which human persons are immaterial souls. After carefully surveying several of the ontological problems that accompany compound dualism, Olson argues that if you are going to be a dualist about persons you should adopt a "pure dualism," the view that persons like you and I are identical with immaterial souls3.

Philosophers Index Abstract
    Substance dualism is typically stated as the view that each of us is made up of both an immaterial substance and a material body – 'compound dualism'. But some state it as the view that we are ourselves immaterial substances – 'pure dualism'. The difference is important. This paper argues that compound dualism faces grave problems that have nothing to do with the difficulties facing substance dualism generally, and which do not arise for pure dualism.

Comment:



In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: Taken from "Corcoran (Kevin) - Soul, Body and Survival: Introduction - Soul or Body?", p. 5.

Footnote 2: See "Swinburne (Richard) - The Evolution of the Soul" (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), esp. 145-61.

Footnote 3: Since Olson is an animalist, this is presumably intended as a reductio ad absurdum.


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