How to be a good person

For Aristotle, becoming good is a matter of practice. He believed that each of us are born with dispositions towards good things - an inclination towards justice, courage, and kindness, for example - and becoming good requires us to exercise these dispositions regularly so that they become habits. In order to make good actions habits,… Continue reading How to be a good person

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Can mental things cause physical things?

Anomalous monism is a theory in the philosophy of mind. The philosopher Donald Davidson argues that mental things must have a physical ontology (that is, must exist as/be part of a physical thing) because only physical things can cause other physical things (see my earlier post on identity theory  for a reminder of why this is). Davidson… Continue reading Can mental things cause physical things?

Is the mind the same as the brain?

Identity theory can be traced back to the mid sixteen hundreds, when Descartes argued that there is a distinction between physical things (res extensa) and mental things (res cogitans). Descartes argued that physical things and mental things must be ontologically distinct from one another because each has properties that the other not only does not… Continue reading Is the mind the same as the brain?

Dostoevsky and ethical dilemmas

I wanted to start off this blog with a excerpt from Crime and Punishment - a conversation between two characters on the moral justification of a murder. The conversation highlights the way in which our ethical beliefs often come in to conflict with one another. "...Hundreds, thousands perhaps, might be set on the right path; dozens… Continue reading Dostoevsky and ethical dilemmas