Two 'Mind-Body' Problems in Descartes and Husserl (MA Thesis)

Dissertation, (2019)

Andrii Leonov
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale
The main theme of this Thesis is the mind-body problem in Descartes and Husserl. Firstly, the author of this work is dealing with problem through the prism of his own approach. Thus, instead one mind-body problem, the author of this work claims that there are two: the first is ontological (mind-brain relation), while the second is the conceptual one (‘mind’ and ‘body’ as concepts). In Descartes’ Meditations, the ontological level of the problem is explicit, when the conceptual level is implicit. Otherwise, in Husserl’s Crisis and Ideas I, the conceptual level (as the opposition between transcendental phenomenology and natural sciences) of the problem is explicit, while the ontological level is implicit. Though, in his Ideas II (and partially in Crisis), Husserl as it seems mostly deals with ontological level of the problem: the phenomenological ‘solution’ to the ontological mind-body problem can be seen through the description of the body-as-lived (der Leib) as opposed to body-as-physical (der Körper). Secondly, the author of this work is dealing with the question of method where also proposes to interpret Descartes and Husserl’s essences as functions (understood in neither teleological nor causal, but in a neutral way), which could help us overcome ‘crises’ (including the conceptual ‘mind-body’ problem). In the last Chapter of this Thesis, the author looks at the interconnections between Husserlian phenomenology and the contemporary analytic philosophy of mind and tries to clarify the zombie argument and the hard problem of consciousness as presented by the Australian philosopher David Chalmers, from the phenomenological (Husserlian) perspective.
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