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Volume 49 • Number 4

October 2012




by Yujin Nagasawa

The mind–body problem is normally construed as a problem concerning the relationship between the physical and the mental. How can you move your bodily part by willing that you move it, given that moving a bodily part is a physical event while thinking that you move a bodily part is a mental event? How can you feel a pain in your bodily part when a certain neural activity takes place in a specific region of your brain, given that feeling a pain is a mental event while the neural activity is a physical event? Yet there is another construal of the mind–body problem (which could well be consistent with the first construal). According to this construal, the mind-body problem is a problem concerning the ultimate level of reality. As it initially appears, and as dualists maintain, are there ultimately both mental things and physical things in the actual world? Or, as physicalists say, is everything in the actual world ultimately physical? On this construal, any plausible solution to the mind–body problem would have to be an attempt to reveal the fundamental metaphysical structure of the universe rather than simply to explain the mechanism that regulates interactions between the physical and the mental.

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American Philosophical Quarterly is published by the University of Illinois Press on behalf of North American Philosophical Publications.

ISSN: 2152-1123