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Essay on "The Philosophy of the Mind, Body and Soul"

  1. Apr 30, 2003 #1
    I am writting an essay on "The Philosophy of the Mind, Body and Soul". There is no particular reason I am writting this, other than for pure enjoyment.
    Anyway, I am overwhelmed at the myriad amounts of books, essays etc. that have come up while I was researching. So where do I start?? What should I look for?

    Any help would be GREATLY appreciated.

    Wuliheron, Lifegazer: I have taken a great interest in both your hypothesis/paradoxes and I hope, with your permission, to use it in my essay. Is it okay if I do? I will not plagiarize, simply go over your paradox/hypothesis.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2003 #2
    Wow, you could write many volumes of books on this, I would start by narrowing it down, like to focus on one thing (eg ones chakra).
  4. Apr 30, 2003 #3
    Even if you dusagree, I would encourage you to take seriously the philosophical standpoint that there is no such thing as the soul, that is a word for an idea, not something that can be pinpointed and identified.
  5. Apr 30, 2003 #4
    You are welcome to use anything I publish here, but on one condition. Be true to yourself. Your own philosophy resembles Buddhism and other pantheistic beliefs more than my own. Thus the books I would recommend would be along that vein. In particular I'd recommend the Scientific Pantheist website as good starting point, they have a huge number of links to quality sites on the subject and a pretty fair representation of the subject.


    However I warn you, Pantheism can get truly hairy to study. Countless books have been written on the subject ranging from the obstruse to the pedantic. If you can give me a better idea of exactly what you believe, I might be able to help with other suggestions.
  6. Apr 30, 2003 #5
    VOLUMES!!?? How about the mind? That'll be good. I could cover, in
    Part 1: The Paradox of Existence: As presented by Wuliheron
    part 1: Lifegazer's Mind Hhypothesis. Onece again, I want to point out that I will not plagiarize. I will give credits as I'm writting the essay.
    Part 2: The Chi: Uniting the body and mind

    Sound good?
  7. Apr 30, 2003 #6
    Thanks! My philosophy is greatly based on Buddhist philosophy about the chi. I am obssesed with Shaolin philosophy. I do the 18 excercises the Monk Mo Fa said to do, in order to excercise your chi. It hasn't worked (maybe 'cause I do it once a week....)
  8. Apr 30, 2003 #7
    Chi is a Taoist concept, not Buddhist. Buddhism and just about every other Asian philosophy incorporates the Tai Chi, but that's just because it is so fundamental. It's to asian philosophy and religion what infinity is to western ones. Chi energy and the Tai Chi symbol, however, are Chinese in origin. You may want to study Qi Gong with a master if you are having difficulty. People say it can take up to three years to finally find the groove, so be patient.

    Shaolin is technically a Taoist school, but like most native chinese schools is really a mixture of Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucionism. What matters most is what you believe. Your belief that existence must have some sort of absolute aspect and ulitmately leads back to the mind is distinctly Buddhist. Exactly how you believe existence is absolute is the real question that can clarify exactly what I might be able to recommend in the way of reading.
  9. Apr 30, 2003 #8
    How did you come up with a paradox of existence? It is very impressive. I've been thinking about its impressive-ness all day, and had an idea that I should persue making my own. I have to go to bed now, so I can't post any more......can you give me pointers on making up my own?
  10. May 1, 2003 #9
    I didn't come up with the paradox of existence, it really is an age old connundrum. It is, however, more recognized in religious circles and Asian philosophy. It really is what half the world's belief systems, worldviews, or whatever you care to call them revolve around. Adapting it to western pragmatism is the only thing that I've done.

    As for how you can come up with one of your own, my only suggestion is to either meditate or follow the advice at the bottom of all my posts. That's what I do. :0)
  11. May 1, 2003 #10
    I don't have a problem with you using my stuff.
    Do you intend posting this essay here so that I can ammend any misrepresentations?
  12. May 1, 2003 #11

    Another God

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    The PLace of Mind

    I am in a philosophy course this semester called 'The Philosophy of Mind'.

    The text book for this course is The Place of Mind, by Brian Cooney. If you want to get some philosophical insights from western philosophy, then this is a great book. It just has key essay after key essay in the development of the modern philosophical situation RE the mind. SO far we have covered Cartesian Dualism, Behaviourism, Identity Theory, Materialism, Functionalism...all that sorta stuff.

    It is a good book, but probably not the sort of thing u could sit down and read all the way through. But that in itself is fine. YOu could just go through and pick out which essays interest you particularly, and read just them if u wanted...
  13. May 1, 2003 #12
    Re: The PLace of Mind

    Damn, AG beat me to it :wink:

    I second that view . . . (having done the same course and got the same book) It has all the classic papers - from Descartes, Locke, Hume, to Ryle, Place, Armstrong, Kripke . . . to Nagel, Searle, Fodor, Dennett, Chalmers . . .

    May I also add that it's not just one essay after another, but the editor has provided good intros, annotated confusing/controversial bits in the essays, as well as following each one up with possible objections/isses for discussion, so it's a pretty balanced account in the areas that it actually cover, not to mention actually being a 'textbook' one could use in a classroom discussion setting. However I don't think it has much (if any at all) to say about Eastern philosophy which Majinvegeta professes interest in.

    A lighter read would be something like 'The Mind's I' coedited by Dennett and Hofstadter. There's a bunch of fictitious short stories as well as essays, (really diverse range of material) with the editors giving their opinion after each essay. This one might show more bias towards the materialist/functionalist view than the Cooney textbook (Dennett and Hofstadter hold similar positions).
  14. May 1, 2003 #13
    Sounds good, except you would have two part one's

    I would tend to stick to established essays/books/reports, not saying Lifegazer isn't intelligent, but perhaps I would not invest a large amount of time on someone else hypothesis, unless you really like his ideas, of course.
  15. May 1, 2003 #14

    Another God

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    Hahaha...isn't the whole thing about someone else's ideas?????
  16. May 1, 2003 #15
    Another thought occured to me about how to go about discovering such things for yourself. One of the most influential books in my life is "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" by Gary Zuckov, hence my nick name. The physics in the book I already knew and understood, but the philosophy drove me nuts.

    One thing I did glean from the book was that in some ways we are all our own worst enemy. Nobody knows us like we know ourselves and, so, when we have an internal struggle with ourselves it can lead to a stalemate. Therefore sometimes the best thing we can do is find ways around this difficulty. In my case, I asked people who's opinions ment very little to me to recommend books. I thought the books they recommended were crazy and stupid, but one of them hit home.

    Here's their address and they have a slew of books available for free online. They are also New Age Buddhist Christians, but what they teach is simply a nondenominational philosophy:


    More than any other learning on the subject I've come across, they drive home just exactly how profoundly Asian philosophy is focused on attitude.
  17. May 1, 2003 #16

    Les Sleeth

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    I want to offer a suggestion based on your interest in Buddhism.

    Something I see all the time is that people will study "Buddhism" without as carefully studying the Buddha himself. There really is a huge difference between the two. Buddhism is a religion, the Buddha was enlightened. Since a religion cannot be enlightened, this is what the Buddha had to offer that religion cannot.

    One book I have is called Thus Have I Heard - The Long Discourses of the Buddha translated by Maurice Walshe (Wisdom Publications, London). It is a translation of the original talks the Buddha gave as he traveled from village to village, or when people came to his Sangha to hear him speak. Unlike the words of Jesus, there are lots of the Buddha's talks preserved.

    It is profound stuff, and very much about body, mind and soul. Now, everyone knows the Buddha didn't speak directly of a "soul," but he did direct his students inward toward something he didn't want to label,"“There is, monks, that plane where there is neither extension nor motion. . . there is no coming or going or remaining or deceasing or uprising. . . . There is, monks, an unborn, not become, not made, uncompounded . . . [and] because [that exists] . . . an escape can be shown for what is born, has become, is made, is compounded.”

    N_Quire says the soul is just an idea, and for him that may be true. But for the Buddha, it was an experience which he attained through what he called "samadhi." Several hundred years after the Buddha the Indian yogi Svatmarama described samadhi as, “. . . just as a grain of salt dissolves in water and becomes one with it, so also in samadhi there occurs the union of mind and [soul]. Mind dissolves in breath and breath subsides. Both become one . . .” Since the enlightenment of the Buddha many have undertaken the practice of samadhi. I myself have practiced it over an hour a day for the last 30 years, and can highly recommend it.

    Anyway, my point was that you can do a very different sort of essay than is typically done on the Buddha if you read his talks. Often his style is Socratic, questioning someone who has a concept about the self or the soul until they come to an understanding. He covers a great deal more than what everyone is already famaliar with (i.e., the Four Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, etc.).
  18. May 1, 2003 #17
    Yes ...that was a pretty stupid thing to say, I guess. I will rephrase it to, someone less established than some may be.
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