Descartes and Immortality
In his Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, Richard Rorty attacks the Cartesian mind-body problem in two ways: first, by a philosophical dissolution; then by a genetic or historical analysis. Without this second line of attack, Rorty says, we are not going to resolve anything. For to think that the first approach is sufficient for getting rid of the mind-body problem is as naive as believing that a psychiatrist can cure a patient by merely explaining to him how his condition arose. As Rorty nicely puts it: ‘Just as the patient needs to relive his past to answer his questions, so philosophy needs to relive its past in order to answer its questions’. Hence ‘nothing will serve [philosophy here] save the history of ideas’.1
KeywordsSeventeenth Century Bodily Sensation Philosophical Writing Psychological Conflict Immortal Life
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