Wednesday, January 16, 2008

mind-body interaction

“One way to deal with the problem of mind-body interaction is to claim that it is only apparent, not real. The mind and the body seem to interact with one another, but that’s because mental processes and physical processes run parallel to each other. According to parallelism, the correlation between mental and physical events is not the result of a causal interaction between the two.

“Some parallelists believe that God produces the correlation by constantly intervening in our affairs. A decision to raise one’s arm, for example, is an occasion for God to cause certain nerve cells to fire. Similarly, getting kicked in the shins is an occasion for God to create a feeling of pain in our minds. This view, known as occasionalism, solves the problem of mind-body interaction, but at the price of introducing yet another entity into the picture, namely, God. Unfortunately, the price seems to be rather high, for divine intervention is just as mysterious as mind-body interaction.”

--Theodore Schick, Jr. and Lewis Vaughn, Doing Philosophy: An Introduction through Thought Experiments, Second Edition, 2003