History of Philosophy Colloquium (15-17)

Location: Drift 6, 007.

Chris Meyns: Henry More Against Monopsychism

How many minds are there, and how are they distinct? In this paper I argue that Henry More (1614–1687) adopts a primitivism about psychic individuation. More resists monopsychism—the view that there is only a single mind in the universe—by showing how it leads to contradictions. But in doing so he does not offer an alternative principle of the individuation of minds. I demonstrate that the recent suggestion that More takes minds to be individuated by consciousness runs into textual and systematic problems. Instead of offering a novel principle, More does away with metaphysical principles of individuation for minds altogether. I show how More’s primitivism about psychic individuation signals a seventeenth century shift in approaches in psychology. Authors do not labor the existing individuation debate with new tools, but give up some of the assumptions that generated puzzlement over psychic individuation in the first place.

For more info and the text, refer to the Studphil mail sent by Tom Giesbers on January 17.

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