Mind Matters

Symbolic Interaction 31 (2):119-141 (2008)
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Abstract

The great divide of modern thought is whether mind is real or naught. The conceit that either mind is reducible to matter or that mind is utterly ethereal is rooted in a mind-versus-matter dichotomy that can be characterized as the modern error, a fatally flawed fallacy rooted in the philosophy and culture of nominalism. A Peircean semiotic outlook, applied to an understanding of social life, provides a new and full-bodied understanding of semiosis as the bridge between mind and matter, and human biology and culture. I begin by first delineating the false divide and showing Charles Sanders Peirce’s alternative to it, then explore the implications of a semiotic approach to mind as trans-action, then consider the self-transcending nature of the human body-mind. Finally I outline my ecological, biosemiotic account of mind, which reveals that, indeed, mind matters, and in ways that unexpect-edly resemble the forms of animism that characterized the hunting-gathering foragers through whom we anatomically modern humans emerged.

Author's Profile

Eugene Halton
University of Notre Dame

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