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Prof. Nabeel Hamid Publishes "Substance, Causation, and the Mind-Body Problem in Johann Clauberg"

December 4, 2020

Prof. Nabeel Hamid published a new article in the Oxford Studies in Early Modern Philosophy annual series (forthcoming). The title of the chapter is "Substance, Causation, and the Mind-Body Problem in Johann Clauberg."

Abstract: This paper argues against traditional interpretations of Clauberg as an occasionalist, as well as more recent ones that attribute to him an interactionist theory of the mind-body relation. It examines his treatment of the mind-body problem in the context of his general theories of substance and cause. It argues that, whereas Clauberg embraces Descartes’s substance dualism, he retains a broadly scholastic theory of causation as involving the action of powers grounded in essences. On his account, mind and body are distinct, power-bearing substances. While there is no causation between mind and body, each is a genuine secondary cause of its own modifications, subordinated to God as primary cause. But although the correlated actions of mind and body are grounded in mental and bodily powers, the correlation itself is not. Clauberg’s view has the consequence that the conjunction of mind and body cannot be understood causally but only descriptively, in terms of the covariations of sensations and brain states, which he regards as mutually referring signs.

Nabeel Hamid is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Concordia University.

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