Analysis Of Jerome Shaffer 's ' Mind And Body Problem '

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In his paper “Mind and Body Problem”, Jerome Shaffer examines the much discussed view of the relation between mental and physical events. According to this view consideration is given to whether or not mental events can occur in the same place the corresponding physical events occur. In the course of his examination of this view, Shaffer considers one difficulty which arises in connection with it, and concludes that it is insurmountable. Unfortunately, his treatment of what he takes to be the central difficulty with the view in question is seriously defected and my purpose in this paper is to indicate wherein its defects lie. Before I refer to the defects I find in Shaffer’s difficulty, we must first understand the premises and conclusion of his argument. The argument is as follows: i.) If mental events are identical to physical events they must fulfill the condition of coexistence in space. ii.) Physical events occur at some point within the body. iii.) Mental events do not occur at any point within the body. c.) Hence mental events cannot meet the condition of coexistence in space, and therefore cannot be identical with physical events. The difficulty to which I refer arises, according to Shaffer, from the following assertion: we lack sufficient understanding to assert that mental events have a particular location within the body. Indeed, Shaffer insists that the difficulty this assertion produces renders Identity theory false. However, the difficulty can be

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