Modal Dualism: A Critique
Goetz (Stewart)
Source: Corcoran - Soul, Body and Survival, Chapter 6
Paper - Abstract

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Summary1

    In the final essay of this first part of "Corcoran (Kevin), Ed. - Soul, Body and Survival: Essays on the Metaphysics of Human Persons", Stewart Goetz considers modal2 arguments for substance dualism. Modal3 arguments for dualism take as their point of departure a claim of the form 'possibly, I exist but no bodies exist'. Underlying such arguments is the conviction that conceivability is a reliable guide to possibility. In "Modal4 Dualism: A Critique" Goetz claims that arguments for Cartesian dualism from the ability to conceive or imagine one's disembodiment are epistemically circular. They are circular, Goetz argues, because one must already be aware of one's distinctness from one's physical body (which is the conclusion of the argument) in order to be able to conceive of one's possible disembodiment. Goetz suggests that in order for one to be genuinely aware of being distinct from one's body, one must be aware of the properties of being simple and being complex, which are exemplified by oneself and one's physical body respectively.

Comment:

Section I: Cartesian Dualism



In-Page Footnotes

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

Footnote 2: I considered such arguments in the first half of a BA Finals essay “What is Descartes’s argument for the ‘real distinction’ between mind and body? Is it a good one?”, follow this link.


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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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