Cartesian Dualism and the Problem of Human Unity

Dissertation, City University of New York (1980)

Abstract
The problem of Cartesian dualism is viewed as falling under a more general problem: the problem of human unity. This problem is both ancient and modern: whether a human being is a substantial unity of soul and body or merely a contingent one. I compare Aristotle's and Descartes's response to this problem. My thesis is that an important factor in generating Cartesian dualism is the rejection implicit in Descartes's metaphysical codification of the new mathematical science of nature, namely, the rejection of Aristotle's radical teleological concept of nature. It is argued that the modern intractable problem of the relation of mind to body turns historically and metaphysically on the Cartesian substitution of the mathematically refined concept of body--three-dimensional extension--for the once-influential Aristotelian teleological concept of corporeal substance
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