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Freedom and Limits$
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John Lachs and Patrick Shade

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823256747

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823256747.001.0001

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Santayana’s Philosophy of Mind

Santayana’s Philosophy of Mind

Chapter:
(p.47) Two Santayana’s Philosophy of Mind
Source:
Freedom and Limits
Author(s):

Patrick Shade

John Lachs

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823256747.003.0004

In this defense of epiphenomenalism, Lachs highlights Santayana's use of the Aristotelian distinction between process and activity to argue that mental life is an impotent byproduct of the body. Processes involve movement from potentiality to actuality and so are temporally differentiated. Activity by contrast is complete and self-contained, lacking heterogeneous parts or any essential temporal reference. Consciousness (or spirit, to use Santayana's terminology) is the actualization of physiological processes, possessing the perfections of pure activity. Being fully actualized, it lacks the power to bring anything into existence. Lachs argues that this position preserves our experience of the duality of mind and body while also leaving the world open to scientific investigation, unimpaired by mental or nonphysical forces.

Keywords:   Epiphenomenalism, George Santayana, Activity, Processes, Consciousness

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