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Philosophy/What is this question asking


I am wondering how you would answer this question: "In your opinion, what is the relationship between the physical world and mental experience?"

Specifically, would you look at this question as asking about the mind-body problem, naive realism vs. subjective idealism, or something else altogether?

I hope you'll indulge me even though what I am really trying to solve is a somewhat petty dispute. It is an interesting question worth considering, all disputes aside.

Thank you for your time & help!

The question is broader than either the mind-body problem or realism vs. idealism. It is so impossibly broad that even trying to answer it is silly.

The literature on both the mind-body problem and realism vs. idealism is vast.

If I were forced to answer the question, I would answer is this way, but keep in mind that my position is only one among many.

"Mental experience is an epiphenomenon of the brain's attempts to survive. It is an evolved adaptive mechanism which has taken on a life of its own. As Daniel Dennett once said, thought is a very effective survival mechanism because when things don't work out, our ideas die, instead of us."

Hope this helps.




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Charles K. MacKay


I can answer a number of questions in philosophy; my academic concentrations (graduate school at Cornell) are ethics, political philosophy, and 19th-century German philosophy (Marx, Hegel, and hangers-on.)



BA, New College, 1971, Philosophy and Religion
Awarded four graduate fellowships upon graduation

MA, Cornell University, 1974
Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

All course work and dissertation drafts completed for Ph.D. Cornell University, 1971-1975, Social and Political Philosophy, Danforth Fellowship

Courses in statistics and microeconomics, George Washington University and The American University, 1976-1978

EXPERIENCE: Health Insurance Specialist 2005 - Present
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service
US Department of Health and Human Services

Allentown Business School Instructor (Computer Science) 2003 - 2005

Northampton Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy 2003 -2005

Lehigh County Community College
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Computer Science


Medicare Made Easy (with Charles B. Inlander) Addison-Wesley, 1989

Good Operations, Bad Operations (with Charles B. Inlander) Viking Press, 1993

Health Rebooted: Information Changes Everything (in press), 2008

Bachelor of Arts, Philosphy and Religion, New College, 1971 Master of Arts, Social and Political Philosophy, Cornell University, 1975

Awards and Honors
Danforth Fellowship, Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

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