Sunday, April 30, 2006

could a Korean have the answer?

Having gotten wrapped up in the philosophical discussion about the nature of mind ("nature of mind" being a topic handled in completely different ways by Western philosophers and Buddhist practitioners), I've come to discover that one of the big names in the whole "substance dualism vs. physicalism" debate is a Korean gent named Jaegwon Kim, whose current position sounds startlingly like my own (keeping in mind that I may be misreading Kim; such things have happened before).

The Wikipedia article on Kim mistakenly labels him a substance dualist, but from my limited reading of the man, he's more of a physicalist than a dualist. His position has been evolving over the years (which is only natural; cf. early/later Wittgenstein and early/later Heidegger). He currently believes that there's very little about the mind that cannot be reduced to its physical components. About the only thing escaping so-called "third-person ontology" is qualia, the elements of subjective experience.

I'm going to have to get hold of Kim's books. Sounds like a fascinating dude. As I've written before, this entire debate is likely irrelevant to a Buddhist, but I find it-- dare I use the word-- stimulating.


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