AS SOMETHING HAVING BOTH A BODY
AND MENTAL PROPERTIES
I have a body and there is no body which has me (in the
same sense of having as an element and of body as in
i have a body). That is why
i can speak of 'my body' instead of
'the body which has me'.
Thus i am a whole of which my body is a component part, and —i must
assume— the sole component part, because there is nothing that
forces me to believe that i have other parts which do not belong to my body.
Being a whole, and having rejected the
objectualist conception, i do not
merely have my body, i also have my own
whole-attributes as a person.
These attributes are my 'personal' or 'mental' properties, whereas my
physical characteristics are, strictly speaking, only properties of my
body, that is,
It is my behavior, not my body's, which is purposeful.
I intend to write things down, not my body; and i have a will
and thoughts, not my body.
If my body shows tendencies to something, and if my body has a 'will', it
is in addition to the tendencies and will i have in a strict sense.
And this is true of all of us, of every person.
As everyone is the whole of
'er body, the
extensionality of a person is 'er body
predicament a set of nonphysical
whole-attributes which the person has
'imself in the strict sense of
A person has 'er nonphysical, or not purely physical, properties as a
gestalt, since they are not logically derivable from the only part
'e has: 'er body.
What, then, ordinarily is called "(a person's) mind" is a person's
predicament (or attributive predicament) and what ordinarily is called
"(a person's) body" is a person's extensionality.
Hence, the mind or soul is not a whole but the set of a person's not
purely physical (whole-)attributes.
And these properties, which may be called "mental" or
"psych(olog)ical", are not parts or elements of
parts; they are attributive elements of the whole itself, of the person
A person's body, however, is in turn a whole itself, and has parts and
attributes of its own.
This configuration of persons is illustrated in
A person's body may be made up of, let's say, a trunk, a
head, two legs and two arms (leaving the discovery of these
wholes and the need to have them to empirical scientists). The
trunk in turn may be made up of a heart, kidneys and other
wholes, like sexual organs. Because of this the body, or person
having it, may be called "cordate", "renate" or "sexual". In a
strict, primary sense, a person does not have a heart or kidneys
or genitals: 'er trunk or maybe 'er body has. In the same,
strict sense 'e does not have a left or a right arm: 'er body
has. It is only in some loose, secondary sense that a person
(instead of 'er body) 'has' a trunk and arms; and it is only in
some tertiary sense that 'e 'has' a heart and hands. When
'finally' a hand has fingers, it is only in some quaternary
sense that the person 'has' these fingers. It depends on the
definiteness of the position of an extensional element whether
the use of having is secondary or even looser. If this
position is not clear at all, every use of having may be
regarded as secondary in the case of a person having bodily
organs or parts.
'Having a hand with fingers' does seem to be for a human
person a kind of having of the third or fourth degree, while
'having mental characteristics, such as a will or intentions,'
is definitely a kind of having of the first degree.
Altho these mental
predicates which may determine a person's utterances on paper are located
a long way up from the fingers writing them down, they are all elements
in the same realm nevertheless.
A person's physical characteristics are the elements of 'er
body's predicament. Hence, a person has 'er body in a primary
sense but 'er physical properties only in a secondary sense. A
person's mental characteristics are the elements of 'er (very
own) predicament, 'er properties in the strict, primary sense of
having. It is this set of predicates which is often called
"mind", "soul" or "spirit". Yet, this set is merely a theoretical
construct and does not represent any really existing entity
(Predicaments are not ontic sets as we have seen in
The mind does not exist as a whole or thing, since it
is itself the predicament of a whole of which a body is a
part, the sole part. The mind is a collection of nonphysical
predicates. The only thing that distinguishes it from a mere
collection is that all its elements are had by one and the same
person or mental being.
Some might now wonder whether a number of mental attributes
could not form a thing themselves just as a number of physical
attributes can form a thing in the process of concretion
(yielding a simplex thing with an attribute of velocity). But
again, so far as the collections of mental attributes of
individual persons are concerned this is even conceptually
impossible, because it would make those collections into simplex
things, and the persons having no attributes anymore (but
things instead) would lose their personhood. (In this respect
the situation is not dissimilar for physical attributes: the
collections of the physical attributes of concrete, complex
things cannot form a thing either.) The idea of the mental
attributes of individual people being a thing collectively would
merely lead us back to the dualistic objectualism we were forced
For the sake of completeness it should be added, however, that it is
indeed possible on our
attributivist construction that sets of
mental, or at least nonphysical, properties do exist as abstract, simplex
Just as in the physical world, it is furthermore also conceptually possible
that there exist more complex, abstract things of which the ultimate
constituents are nonphysical properties.
But none of those abstract things —even if they exist at all—
is a person, or can ever be part of a person.
In our terminology bodies do exist and are concrete things.
Persons exist too but are not concrete things in a strict sense,
for they do not have an attribute of velocity or any other
physical attribute. Hence, in a strict sense, persons are
abstract entities with a concrete object as the sole component
part. It is only in a little bit looser usage that we may say
that a person is something concrete with physical properties.
The (personal) mind is an abbreviation for mental
property A, and mental property B, and mental property C, and so
on or for all a person's (whole-)attributes or for all a
person's nonphysical characteristics.
Thus, paradoxically as it may seem, the mind is not a thing and does not
exist, whereas all 'its' elements do exist.
But what are presented theoretically as 'its' elements are in reality the
As a set of a person's mental predicates (or attributes only) no personal
'mind' can exist independently of a body, since a person is 'imself a
whole with a body as part, a whole of one body.
On the other hand, a personal body always exists with mental
characteristics called "a mind" conjunctively.
As soon as a body is not part of a whole with a mental predicament, it
simply is not a person's body.
Of course, there are many bodies without persons; and yet, there is no
need to hypostatize persons (or other entities which have mental
properties) without bodies.
On the contrary, it entirely passes over the configuration of personal
beings and it detaches what belongs together, however different in nature.