Mind and Morals – Philosophical Explorations

This collection of thought-provoking and practically orientated philosophical articles deals with the mind/body problem, cognitive function, ethics, politics and the nature of the external world.

The split between mind and body is engrained in our thinking and has had very damaging consequences, for instance in medical treatment. Some aspects of this problem are discussed, including an important suggestion by Aristotle to explain how mind and body might be understood as a unity.

The section on cognitive function is of considerable topical interest: are minds to be compared with computers, how do we learn language and what is visual awareness for? The chapters on ethics contain reflections on the nature of evil and of happiness, and a discussion of two intriguing ethical phenomena: what are we to think of great artists who are deplorable human beings and what are we to think of “moral saints”?

The last two sections on “Politics” and “The Nature of the World” are concerned with the political consequences of individual self-realization, with the question of how we know that there is an external world in the first place (could it not all be a dream?) and to what extent the world is determined by the principle of causality (every event has a cause) and to what extent by chance.

This is philosophy which is far removed from realms of abstraction and which addresses, in an engaging way, questions and dilemmas we encounter in everyday life.