1st edition
248 pages
Softcover 13,5 x 21,5 cm
ISBN 978-3-948442-10-1
published 11/2021
EUR 26,00 inkl. Mwst.

Paul Crichton

Mind and Morals

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.

Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple
about 1600, El Greco (by permission of the National Gallery, London)

El Greco's painting "Christ Driving the Traders from the Temple" (circa 1600) illustrates one of the negative effects of commercialization discussed in the chapter on the "Social and Political Implications of Individually Distinctive Self-Realisation" in "Mind and Morals". There it is argued that individually distinctive self-realization involves discovering and acting on what we, as individuals, care about, and that one of the things we care about is justice. The Temple is valued by those who go there regularly as a place of worship of God, and its use as a commercial space detracts from this value and thereby does the worshippers an injustice. Moreover the goods which are sold there may include some which only the rich can afford, and this would create an injustice for the poor.