Philosophy of Mind; philosophical psychology; mind; soul; Ancient philosophy; Medieval philosophy; Early Modern philosophy; mind-body problem; theory of intellect; noetics; Peripatetism; Neoplatonism; Cartesianism; translation
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The concept of mind has become a key notion in contemporary philosophy as well as in contemporary psychology. Most commonly quoted in relation with the ‘mind-body’ problem, it relates to a large range of cognitive activities and its emotional cognates. One main debate is in how far mind is to be taken as physical or non-physical entity. The classical concept of soul (psyche, anima) has many similarities with this notion of mind, especially as regards the mind-body distinction. However, soul and mind can’t be taken as synonymous as the specific qualities and functions that are attributed to them have different implications, such as, for instance, the question of the immateriality of soul or the way emotions are explained or, also, the fact that soul is considered as a “principle of life”. What is more, some classical theories posit a separate intellect, which is distinguished from soul and through which perception and thinking are made two clearly separate activities. The question thus has to be raised in how far ‘mind’ is related to the concept of ‘soul’. The outcome of this debate has crucial relevance for contemporary philosophical and psychological theories. The concept of mind itself, its classical philosophical and cultural roots are not sufficiently taken into account. Yet such a step back into the history of the concept of mind and its cognates is of high interest and benefit for contemporary theories which are currently rediscovering emotions and thus going beyond the purely neurological theory of mind. The research module has two purposes: 1. To examine the arguments, principles and conceptual schemes of distinction between soul and mind as well as between mind / soul and body used by prominent Medieval and Early Modern philosophers, the aim being to trace back their Ancient Greek sources and acknowledge the various transformations they underwent. 2. To reconsider both from an historical and a systematic point of view the main categories currently used by philosophers working on classical as well as contemporary philosophy in view of characterizing a given philosophical position, e.g: Dualism, Cartesian Dualism, ‘Bundle’ Dualism, Attributivism, Substantialism, Materialism, and Monism.