Statistic about essay

Descartes’ Error (Chukat 5777) - Rabbi Sacks

Date of publication: 2017-08-26 21:16

The second period of Stoic history, referred to as the 8775 middle Stoa, 8776 saw the philosophy introduced to Rome. Cicero (not himself a Stoic, but sympathetic to the idea) is one of our major sources for both the early and the middle Stoa, since otherwise we have only fragments of the writings of the Stoics up to that point. The third and last period is referred to as the 8775 late Stoa, 8776 and it took place during Imperial Rome it included the famous Stoics whose writings have been preserved in sizable parts: Gaius Musonius Rufus, Seneca, Epictetus, and Marcus Aurelius.

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Some have attempted to rebut this "conceivability argument" by noting that the fact that we can ostensibly imagine such a zombie world does not mean that it is possible. Without the actual existence of such a world, the argument that mental properties do not supervene on physical properties fails.

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The press release from Kensington Palace read: 8775 Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to announce that The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting their third child. [Read more.]

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The question now is: “How many decades till classical learning retreats back into the halls and oratories of the monasteries where they shall wait for the fires of Rome to die?”  What is certain is that once the smoke clears, it will be the monks, the culture, and learning—once held so dear—rising from the ash, once again bringing sanity back to the world.

The consequences of this problem are very serious for Descartes, because it undermines his claim to have a clear and distinct understanding of the mind without the body. For humans do have sensations and voluntarily move some of their bodily limbs and, if Gassendi and Elizabeth are correct, this requires a surface and contact. Since the mind must have a surface and a capacity for motion, the mind must also be extended and, therefore, mind and body are not completely different. This means the “clear and distinct” ideas of mind and body, as mutually exclusive natures, must be false in order for mind-body causal interaction to occur. Hence, Descartes has not adequately established that mind and body are two really distinct substances.

That, as we can now see, is the logic of the  chukim , the “statutes” of Judaism, the laws that seem to make no sense in terms of rationality. These are laws like the prohibition of sowing mixed seeds together (kelayim) of wearing cloth of mixed wool and linen (shaatnez) and of eating milk and meat together. The law of the Red Heifer with which our parsha begins, is described as the chok par excellence: “This is the statute of the Torah” (Num. 69:7).

Too much takes place in the mind for us to be fully aware of it. Timothy Wilson of the University of Virginia estimates that the human mind can absorb 66 million pieces of information at any given moment. We can be conscious of only a tiny fraction of this. Most of what is going on mentally lies below the threshold of awareness.

Being and Time , Martin Heidegger.
Difficulty level: hard
Who to read first: Kant, Hegel
Heidegger was one of those philosophers who thought everyone before him was horribly off-track. In theory, Heidegger can be read on his own, as he was often starting from scratch, but he was very influenced by Hegel, Kant, and Kierkegaard, and his works are again, long and difficult. Unless you are very interested in him, just get an overview instead. If you do want to dive in anyway, you should listen to Hubert Dreyfus lectures first (linked below).

But what makes it especially clear that my idea of gravity was taken largely from the idea I had of the mind is the fact that I thought that gravity carried bodies toward the centre of the earth as if it had some knowledge of the centre within itself (AT VII 997: CSM II 798).

The rule, on the other hand, sets out for the reader how to pray, what to pray, and when to pray, making an allowance for personal devotions and prayer. Likewise, the rule sets times for work, leaving the specifics of that work to the particular community.

Two other forms of substance dualism are occasionalism and parallelism. These theories are largely relics of history. The occasionalist holds that mind and body do not interact. They may seem to when, for example, we hit our thumb with a hammer and a painful and distressing sensation occurs. Occassionalists, like Malebranche, assert that the sensation is not caused by the hammer and nerves, but instead by God. God uses the occasion of environmental happenings to create appropriate experiences.

Dualists in the philosophy of mind emphasize the radical difference between mind and matter. They all deny that the mind is the same as the brain, and some deny that the mind is wholly a product of the brain. This article explores the various ways that dualists attempt to explain this radical difference between the mental and the physical world. A wide range of arguments for and against the various dualistic options are discussed.

But we also experience within ourselves certain other things, which must not be referred either to the mind alone or to the body alone. These arises, as will be made clear in the appropriate place, from the close and intimate union of our mind with the body. This list includes, first, appetites like hunger and thirds secondly, the emotions or passions... (AT VIIIA 78: CSM I 759).

The prohibitions against sowing mixed seeds, mixing meat and milk or wool and linen, and so on, create an instinctual respect for the integrity of nature. They establish boundaries. They set limits. They inculcate the feeling that we may not do to our animal and plant environment everything we wish. Some things are forbidden – like the fruit of the tree in the middle of the Garden of Eden. The whole Eden story, set at the dawn of human history, is a parable whose message we can understand today better than any previous generation: Without a sense of limits, we will destroy our ecology and discover that we have lost paradise.

* The View from Above: again mentally picture yourself, but then 8775 out 8776 to see your polis from above, then your country, then the planet, then the solar system, then the local group of stars, then the Milky Way, then the local cluster of galaxies, and finally the whole of the cosmos. The idea is to remind yourself of the proper perspective: what happens to you on a speck of dust afloat in the universe is not, after all, that important

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