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Philosophy

Philosophy of Mind

The mind/ body problem is as old as philosophy itself. Usually, people fall into one of two camps here – materialism (also known as physicalism) or dualism. Materialists believe that there is essentially one kind of thing in the world – matter. As such, everything – including our thoughts, feelings, and conscious experience in general – can be reduced to no more than the function of neurons firing in our brain (or whatever science tells us happens in there). Dualists, on the other hand, believe in the existence two fundamental ‘substances’ – matter and mind. Mind, they argue, is non-physical. Today, the vast majority of philosophers advocate some form of materialism and support for dualism is, sadly, waning.

Categories
Philosophy

Epistemology

If one subject, more than any other, has come to dominate philosophical inquiry it is epistemology.  Epistemology deals with questions concerning the nature of knowledge, what we can know, and how we come to know it.  Modern philosophy’s focus on epistemology might be considered the legacy of René Descartes; however, as we have already seen, epistemological concerns were being addressed as early as Plato.