By D. Cockburn

This ebook differs from others via rejecting the dualist procedure linked particularly with Descartes. It additionally casts severe doubt at the varieties of materialism that now dominate English language philosophy. Drawing particularly at the paintings of Wittgenstein, a significant position is given to the significance of the proposal of a man or woman in our thought of ourselves and others.

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There is obviously a close relationship between the geometrical arrangement of facial flesh and the expression on the face. But the relationship is not of the following simple kind: if, and only if, the arrangement of flesh on two faces is very similar the expression on the faces is very similar. For, as the above cartoon faces bring out, a very small change in the arrangement of flesh can transform the expression on a face; and I take it that faces with large differences at the level of arrangements of flesh can be very similar in terms of the expression on them.

If that means ‘You can see them, touch them, and weigh them’ that is one thing. But if it means, for example, ‘There is no difference between being interested in her and being interested in her body’, where the latter phrase is tied up with lust or doctors, it is quite another. The term ‘body’ does, in certain contexts, allow one to slide too easily from one to the other. I use the term ‘human being’ in order to discourage moves of just this kind. Of course, if one thinks such moves are quite legitimate one will have worries about my use of the term ‘human being’; but grounds for these worries do need to be established.

Are we to say that the difficulty in the idea of a closed, continuously falling stream of water is ‘merely physical’? That, clearly, does not do justice to the matter. The idea of such a stream is incoherent, in something like the sense in which the idea of a four-sided triangle is incoherent. Yet we have a picture of it! ) We might conclude: it does not follow from the fact that something can be drawn that it is, in any sense, possible in reality. Or we might express the point by saying that this is not really a picture of a closed, continuously falling stream of water; it is simply a picture that one might be tempted to describe in that way if one didn’t think too hard about it.

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