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Causal Power In Descartes' Mind-Body Union

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Chapter Summary

In the Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes argues that human mind and body are distinct substances with entirely different natures. This chapter shows how the idea of causal interaction opens a way of attributing to Descartes a consistent and unified view on causality in the mind-body union. It outlines the way in which the one and same basic model applies to different kind of causal interactions. It briefly considers four major problems associated with the Cartesian union: (i) heterogeneity problem; (ii) dissimilarity problem; (iii) duplication problem; and (iv) closure problem. The heterogeneity problem is concerned with the question of how mind and body, being entirely different kind of substances, can act upon each other. The chapter finally considers Descartes? view on corporeal reality, in particular with his conception of causal power in transactions between bodies.

Keywords: Cartesian union; causal interaction; causal power; closure problem; corporeal reality; dissimilarity problem; duplication problem; heterogeneity problem; mind-body union; René Descartes



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