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Mind, Brain and Mental Illness

  • Leslie Stevenson (a1)

The distinction between mental illness and bodily illness would seem to presuppose some sort of distinction between mind and body. But dualist theories that the mind is a substance separable from the body, or that mental events could occur without any bodily events, raise ancient conceptual problems, which I do not propose to review here. What I want to do is to examine the psychiatric implications of materialist theories, which hold that the mind is the brain, or a function of the brain. If all character has a basis in chemistry, can we still attribute some mental distress to character and some to chemistry, as if the two categories were different?

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J. J. C. Smart , ‘Sensations and Brain-Processes’, Philosophical Review 68 (1959), 142.

Ruth Macklin , ‘Mental Health and Mental Illness: Some Problems of Definition and Concept Formation’, Philosophy of Science 39, No. 3 (1972), 346.

P. F. Strawson , Individuals (London: Methuen, 1959), Chapter 3, ‘Persons’.

Donald Davidson , ‘On Mental Events’, in Experience and Theory L. Foster and Swanson (eds.) (London: Duckworth, 1970)

‘Psychology as Philosophy’ in Philosophy of Psychology, S. C. Brown (ed.) (London: Macmillan, 1974).

T. Nagel , ‘Physicalism’, Philosophical Review 74 (1965)

C. Taylor , ‘Mind-body Identity, a Side Issue?’, Philosophical Review 76 (1967)

D. Davidson , ‘Causal Relations’, Journal of Philosophy 64 (1967), 691703

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  • ISSN: 0031-8191
  • EISSN: 1469-817X
  • URL: /core/journals/philosophy
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