One of the main purposes of the contemporary philosophy of mind is to explain the nature and functioning of the mind in the physical world. The problem which this discipline seeks to address, commonly referred to as the mind-body problem, concerns the general question of the relation between mental states and the states of matter of which the human organism is made up. Directly connected to the solution of this problem is not only the possibility to account for the causal efficacy and epistemic relevance of mental states (beliefs, emotions, memories, thoughts, etc.) but also, more generally, the possibility to attribute wholeness and personal identity to human beings, to think of them as autonomous agents. Epicurean philosophy, based on a rigorously materialist conception of reality, seeks to justify the possibility for each individual to direct his/her psychological and moral development towards the attainment of happiness. As such, it appears to have provided a significant contribution to the emergence of the modern mind-body problem – with due differences – and to offer an interesting term of comparison for contemporary theories. Epicurus addresses two questions that can apparently be traced back to the mind-body problem. The first concerns the composition of the soul and its functioning with respect to the body (Ep. Hrd.). The second question concerns the nature and function of mental states, such as memories, in relation to the atomic constitution of the human organism (Book 25 On nature). The present essay is devoted to an investigation of the two above questions. In particular, it seeks to establish whether and in what way, within Epicurean psychology, the mind is distinguished from the rest of the soul; what it consists in and where it is located; how it operates in relation to the rest of the human organism; and, finally, whether and in what way it develops.

Mind in an Atomistic World

F. Masi
2018

Abstract

One of the main purposes of the contemporary philosophy of mind is to explain the nature and functioning of the mind in the physical world. The problem which this discipline seeks to address, commonly referred to as the mind-body problem, concerns the general question of the relation between mental states and the states of matter of which the human organism is made up. Directly connected to the solution of this problem is not only the possibility to account for the causal efficacy and epistemic relevance of mental states (beliefs, emotions, memories, thoughts, etc.) but also, more generally, the possibility to attribute wholeness and personal identity to human beings, to think of them as autonomous agents. Epicurean philosophy, based on a rigorously materialist conception of reality, seeks to justify the possibility for each individual to direct his/her psychological and moral development towards the attainment of happiness. As such, it appears to have provided a significant contribution to the emergence of the modern mind-body problem – with due differences – and to offer an interesting term of comparison for contemporary theories. Epicurus addresses two questions that can apparently be traced back to the mind-body problem. The first concerns the composition of the soul and its functioning with respect to the body (Ep. Hrd.). The second question concerns the nature and function of mental states, such as memories, in relation to the atomic constitution of the human organism (Book 25 On nature). The present essay is devoted to an investigation of the two above questions. In particular, it seeks to establish whether and in what way, within Epicurean psychology, the mind is distinguished from the rest of the soul; what it consists in and where it is located; how it operates in relation to the rest of the human organism; and, finally, whether and in what way it develops.
Philosophy of Mind in Antiquity, The History of the philosophy of mind vol 1
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3715317
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