chapter  1
15 Pages

Body and soul

I thus reject Cartesian dualism and materialistic and behaviouristic monisms at one go. Indeed I would describe Cartesian dualism as a metaphysical dichotomy, in that it opposes the mind and the body in abstraction from the life in which human beings are said to think, to feel, to take decisions, etc., and also to walk, to swim, to do the various things they do. John Wisdom asked whether the words ‘He is walking very fast’ describe ‘a purely bodily performance’, and whether in contrast the words ‘He is thinking about the trade cycle’ describe ‘a purely mental performance’. He answered, ‘Aren’t both both?’ (Wisdom 1952: 223). He meant that what we consider as paradigms of the mental and the bodily in a common-orgarden sense, such as thinking and walking, cannot be conceived in separation from each other. Walking involves intention, and intention is rooted in the public life of action. As for thinking, even when it is something we

do in our heads, the sense of what we say we do belongs to the life we share with other people. Wittgenstein emphasizes that this is the kind of life we live with language. The participants of that life are, of course, people with distinctively human capacities, such as the capacity for thought, reasoning and acting with intention. If we speak of the person’s mind, it is capacities such as these to which we are referring.