Vater des Substanzdualismus?Eine kontextuale Analyse von Descartes' Thesen zum Geist-Materie- Verhältnis

Abstract

The fact that Descartes describes mind and body as two fundamentally different entities has mostly led to the view that he has to be seen not only as the father of modern Philosophy, but also as the father of substance dualism. Against this commonsense view, I will argue that Descartes’ dualism does not primarily aim to prove an ontological, but a transcendental distinction between mind and body as a constitutional fact of human existence. As a consequence, Descartes’ dualism has to be seen as a kind of perspectivism: Depending on one’s point of view, the human mind can, according to Descartes, be seen as part of a union with the body, as self-consciousness (“ego cogito”) or, from a naturalistic point of view, as a natural function that has its correlate in the human brain.

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