2008-05-01Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/13523
The ontological causation
Philosophische Fakultät I
The Cartesian distinction between res extensa and res cogitans initiated in the early modern age the philosophical discourse with regard to an adequate explanation of the nexus between the body and the mind. The causal closure of the body (as essentially a physical phenomenon) seems to exclude both the physical and neuronal causation of mental states and operations as well as the mental causation of bodily states and processes. The following treatise is an attempt to re-examine the causal connectivity between the body and the mind and thereby to explain the mysterious interaction between these two entirely distinct modes of existence and reality. The neuronal causation of the mental existence of human beings, and conversely the mental causation of bodily volition seem to surpass the framework of ordinary causal processes which are primarily conceived as temporal sequences of causes and effects in natural phenomena. The existence of the conscious subject – as res cogitans – can hardly be reduced to momentary neuronal processes of causation; it implies a constant ontological causation in which the elementary physical and material modes of being cause constantly and ontologically the mental states and operations – which eventually form higher and unitary modes of being. This dual nature of a neuronal-ontological causation, namely the constant and existential causation of the mind and the momentary causation of mental processes (sensation, perception, cognition, thinking, etc.), seems to resolve the problem of the causal connectivity between the body and the mind. However, the ontological causation cannot be restricted to the causal interaction between the body and the mind; it can be extended to the modes of existence of the overall physical i. e. material reality.