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Title: What matter? : human nature beyond the Cartesian Framework : an essay in metapsychology
Author: Fisher-Høyrem, Linda Elisabeth
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis seeks to recast the body/mind problem and some of its associated questions in light of a historical diagnosis of the underlying metaphysical premises of the current debate and through a contrastive examination of two aternative metaphysical frameworks. Despite a proliferation of reductive and non-reductive perspectives in contemporary debates about mind/body interaction, a growing consensus recognizes that the dominant philosophical alternatives fall short of accounting for the complexity of human nature. Rather than simply adding another voice to this debate, this thesis argies that the present philosophical alternatives are only perceived as exhaustive in the first place because they share a certain philosophical 'framework' or set of assumptions - about matter, causation, mentality, reality, and the self - one that is distinctly Western and modern, and that provides the terms of the debate itself, framing and limiting the scope of questions and responses alike. Offering a historical diagnosis of what it calls the 'Cartesian framework', the thesis shows that despite functioning as a taken-for-granted background, this framework is in fact not a universal 'given' evacuated from historical circumstances. The thesis then examines two examples of pre-Cartesian and non-Western metaphysics, namely Thomism and Buddhist philosophy - neither of which encounter any body/mind problem in theor accounts of human nature because they do not share the assumptions of the Cartesian framework. Finally, it suggests that more than simply revealing the limitations of the Cartesian framework underpinning contemporary philosophical debates, drawing on these two case studies might offer ways of sidestepping the current philosophical dead-end, as well as having practical implications for any discipline concerned with human nature - our bodies, behavior and 'inner' life - beyond mere philosophical speculation.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available