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Philosophy | The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology

The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology

Lennon, Thomas M., Stainton, Robert J. (Eds.)

2008, X, 290 p.

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  • Presents the only in-depth analysis of the argument as found throughout history
  • Covers the main line in the history of the Achilles argument in the Western philosophical tradition
  • Discusses variations on the Achilles argument and its criticism in ancient, medieval and early modern philosophy
  • Makes a valuable and original contribution to the history of philosophy of mind
  • Relatively non-technical and therefore of use to students

How is it that the mind perceives the words of a verse as a verse and not just as a string of words? One answer to this question is that to do so the mind itself must already be unified as a simple thing without parts (and perhaps must therefore be immortal). Kant called this argument the Achilles, perhaps because of its apparent invincibility, and perhaps also because it has a fatal weak spot, or perhaps because it is the champion argument of rationalism. The argument and the problem it addresses have a long history, from the ancient world right up to the present.

The Achilles of Rationalist Psychology consists of newly written papers addressing each of the main contributors to the discussion of the Achilles. Despite the historical importance and intrinsic interest of the argument, very little has been written about it. This volume should therefore be of use to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers across the domains of philosophy, history, and cognitive science.

Content Level » Research

Keywords » Achilles - Aristotle - Consciousness - Immanuel Kant - Kant - Mind - Natur - Plato - Rationalism - René Descartes - Spinoza - cognitive science - philosophy - psychology

Related subjects » History of Science - Philosophical Traditions - Philosophy - Psychology, general

Table of contents 

Did Plato Articulate the Achilles Argument?.- Aristotle on the Unity of Consciousness.- The Neoplatonic Achilles.- The Unity of the Soul and Contrary Appetites in Medieval Philosophy.- Hume, Spinoza and the Achilles Inference.- Locke and the Achilles Argument.- The Reverse Achilles in Locke.- Cudworth and Bayle: An Odd Couple?.- The Achilles Argument and the Nature of Matter in the Clarke Collins Correspondence.- Leibniz’s ‘Achilles’.- Hume’s Reply to the Achilles Argument.- Kant and Mendelssohn on the Implications of the ‘I Think’.- Kant on the Achilles Argument.- William James and the Achilles Argument.- The Binding Problem: Achilles in the 21st Century.

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