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Me and My Body (II)
July 28, 2008, 8:29 pm
Filed under: Philosophical Anthropology, Philosophy

Someone points to a picture of my leg.  He asks, “Hey, Ed, is that you?”  I reply, “Yep.  That’s me at the beach last summer.  Good times.”

Evidently when someone claims that I am my brain* (and thinks they claiming something that’s philosophically interesting) they mean something very different than this.  For who’d have a problem if my brain was substituted in for my leg in the above example.  Yes, you are pointing at me!  Of course that’s me!  Big deal.

When you point to my brain, my leg, or my body generally, you point at me.  This is the case because I am present to the world (and the world is present to me) in and through my body.

You punch my face, you punch me.  (Not just the fleshy machine my ghostly mind is riding around in.)

But you should know that I’m a dualist of sorts, and I can wholeheartedly shout all this from the roof tops.  It doesn’t come into conflict with dualism in slightest.  (Neither does a high view of the body or embodiment.  Actually any talk about bodies and embodiment presupposes some sort of dualism, doesn’t it?)

If you think otherwise, maybe you’re getting your dualism from a bad dealer.  Stop thinking of dualism as you read about in standard philosophy texts.  You know, the kind in which Plato and Descartes are dragged out to be publicly shamed by a series of pronouncements in the form of “thanks to modern science we now that…” or “this leads to such and such horrible consequences…”



* Or something of the like.  Maybe I’m the function of my brain or my nervous system or whatever.  I dare you to point to a video of my leg kicking a soccer ball and ask me if it is me.  Of course I’ll say it is me.  It is me.  But that’s philosophically uninteresting.  Point to a my brain functioning and I’ll tell you that you are pointing at me.  Trivial.  Any dualist like me will agree.


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