Friday, March 29, 2013

No matter, never mind …

… Edward Feser: Nagel and his critics, Part VIII. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

From the concrete material objects of everyday life, Descartes and the moderns who have followed him derived two abstractions (as I discussed in an earlier post). First, they abstracted out those features that could be captured in exclusively quantitative terms, reified this abstraction, and called that reified abstraction “matter,” or “the physical,” or that which is “objective.” Second, they abstracted those qualitative features that would not fit the first, quantitative picture, reified that abstraction, and called it “the mental,” or that which is “subjective.” Once this move was made, there was never in principle going to be a way to get mind and matter together again, since they were in effect defined by contrast with one another.

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