Off camping this weekend, so instead of the video post which I didn’t have time to finish, here’s a poem about philosophy of mind in the 16th century. One day I’ll write that philosophy picture book, I swear.
When thoughtfully turning to the subject of mind,
one will (fraught with confusion) invariably find
one single name at the top of this art,
a great drunken Frenchman by the name of Descartes.
Descartes just wanted to know what he knew,
so he sat in his chair and he thought it all through.
He slowly attempted to reason it out,
casting aside all things open to doubt.
He cast aside sight and he cast aside hearing,
he cast aside old cars with no power steering.
He cast aside frippery and ruckuses and lace,
noodlers and knobblers, not a thing held in place!
He threw it all away, just let it all go,
a boring, spectacular, philosophy show!
Then when he thought that he’d gone all the way down,
got rid of all adjectives and every last noun.
“What am I left with?” he asked with a sigh.
“Nothing I guess–Wait! Nothing but I!”
For it was true, he could not deny,
the very one thing on which he relied.
Himself, great doubter and thinker renowned.
His mind, ephemeral and a little unwound.
Even in doubting, his existence was sure,
and bereft of his senses his mind would endure.
That’s when he posited a great explanation.
A Cartesian idea, mind/body separation!
But the mind it could change, and the body could too,
causing states in the other, bound by pineal glue.
However, this raises a substantial critique.
If states of mind are affected by our very physique,
and the body affected by states of the mind–
How are they separate? They seem quite combined.
He wants us to believe that our minds are still free,
but with a causal relation, that simply can’t be.
Immaterial or not, it seems we’re still bound,
obeying whims of the senses and the causes around.
There is one final problem which I must pursue.
If my mind’s incorporeal, what does my brain do?