Introduction to Philosophy, PHIL 1010

Critique of Mind-Body Dualism

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Alison Jaggar, John Locke/Marya Schechtman, and Martin Heidegger all offer interesting criticisms to Cartesian Dualism (Descartes’ Mind-Body Dualism).

Alison Jaggar does this by demonstrating the importance of emotion and Values along with Reason/Mind. She also shows how who we are must include important aspects of the body, such as gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality. These socially salient aspects tend to position us in society into dominant and subordinate groups, which affect not only the production of knowledge but also how we think of the self.

John Locke and Marya Schechtman critique Cartesian Dualism by introducing the significance of Personal Identity as a third element. In examining Personal Identity, we also explore the significance of memory. Schechtman adds to additional aspects to Locke’s theory by writing about: 1) how we meaningfully organize our various memories in order to create a self, and 2) why we need to identify those experiences which are important to who we are yet might not be readily remembered.

Martin Heidegger thinks of our sense of self not as a mind nor as bodies separate from minds. He overcomes the mind/body dualism by conceiving of ourselves as being-in-the-world, engaged in activities. It is through our active engagements that we understand ourselves better and develop authenticity.

***Choose two of the above to write separate journals on. Each journal will be approximately four (typed, double-spaced) pages long, totally eight pages.

Creating Ourselves

Many philosophers do not think of the self as something we are born with, an essence or a true unchangeable core. Rather, they may think of the self as something we create. Focus on two of the following thinkers to write separate journals on concerning their theories on self construction:

Locke/Schechtman, memory and the construction of a sense of self

Sartre, freedom and facticity in creating who we are

Heidegger, being-in-the-world and authenticity

See #1 above for how long each journal should be.

The Significance of Society and Others in Thinking of Who We Are

Many philosophers realize that we cannot think of who we are in isolation of our important relations with others and with our society. Choose 2 of the following thinkers to examine their ideas of how we become who we are in our social contexts.

Jaggar, gender, race/ethnicity, and socially constructed hierarchies that position us as dominant and subordinate

Sartre, how freedom is affected by facticity and others as we are responsible for creating ourselves

Heidegger, our immediate engagement with the world, others, and our activities as we move in the world

See #1 above for how long each journal should be.

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