Visit the place where Michel de Montaigne wrote his famous Essays.
Monday, June 25, 2007
Recent investigations have shown that a person first acts and then has a will to act: the will for an action comes a fraction of a second after the action concerned starts. Does this mean that there is no freedom of the will? That the action causes the will to do this action? No, for the essence of the freedom of the will is not simply that I am free to do now what I want to do now, but freedom of the will means that I am free to make plans for the future and that I can execute them when the time for doing them arrives. That I can plan an action long, if necessary months or years, before it will take place and that I can adopt it to the circumstances. Free will is a long term phenomenon that has nothing to do with momentaneous causation. If that would not be so, a falling tree that suddenly blocks my road would be a clear falsification of the existence of a freedom of the will. Maybe there is no free will, but then it is for other reasons.
Monday, June 18, 2007
What Gallagher shows in his How the body shapes the mind is that it is impossible to separate the mental part from a person’s bodily part, which makes that a brain transplant is impossible in any way, be it that the brain as such is transplanted or be it that only the mental contents of the brain is transplanted, teletransported or what you want to do with it. It puts the personal identity discussion in a new light. One implication is that personal identity cannot be reduced to any form of psychological continuity, that there is no psychological criterion of personal identity and that the psychological approach of personal identity fails. However, also a pure bodily criterion will not do. What Gallagher makes clear is that a person is an integrated whole of mind and body. Now he should have to write a book How the mind shapes the body.