Re: Movement Vs. Telekinesis

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Sat Jun 01 1996 - 18:07:56 BST

> Date: Sat, 1 Jun 1996 15:55:51 +0100 (BST)
> From: "Bilak Alexandra" <>
> Dear Stevan
> I'm going to be working all weekend in Glen Eyre, so I was wondering if
> you could send me some information there, at ab495@soton. ac. uk.(
> i.e., not in the psychology department).
> I haven't quite understood what monism and dualism are, and what the
> difference between movement and telekinesis is.
> Could you explain this to me please ?
> Thanks for your help.
> Alex.

Hi Alex, among the 90 remaining questions I am currently replying
to, those both appear, so within a few days you should see
the practice question and my comments. Also, look at the Web,
as there has already been a thread of discussion on this topic.
(You are supposed to ask me about it only AFTER you have read what there
is to read about it, especially on the web, not INSTEAD of reading;
and at this late stage the best evidence of your having read what you
needed to read is that you first attempt a kid-sib explanation, before
asking for help; pure appeals for help like this were only okay
immediately after a lecture, when all you had was the lecture material.)

So I cannot do the whole thing again for you here separately, but the
short answer is that monism is the belief that there is only matter,
and that mind is just a kind of matter or a property of matter;
dualism is the belief that mind and matter are not the same kind of
thing. There are several different kinds of monism and several
different kinds of dualism. For an A you need to describe them a
little, and you need to show what the basic underlying problem is (the
mind/body problem) and what the possibilities for solution might be.

Movement is what happens when planets or automobiles or organisms, or
parts of them, change their relative positions, for example, when you
bend a spoon with the strength of your hands. Telekinesis is the
hypothetical effect of mind over matter, such as when Uri Geller bends
a spoon with his mind alone. The point is that the difference between
movement and telekinesis is NOT that in movement there is direct
contact and in telekinesis there is "action at a distance." There can
be action at a distance in ordinary planetary motion (gravity) and in
magnetism too. The point concerns, rather, the causal role of the MIND
in the movement: Was it mind over matter? That's dualism, and that is
at odds with the causal and conservation laws of physics. Or was it
just matter over matter, as Libet shows, with the mind not playing an
independent causal role? But then what is the mind there for at all?
And what IS the mind? (The mind/body problem).

Chrs, S

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