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Heinrich Watzka, S.J.: Embodied vs. Bodily Existence

Arguments in favor of a dualistic understanding of human persons

Date of Lecture: September 11, 2014

Heinrich Watzka, S.J.About the Speaker: Heinrich Watzka, S.J. is an International Visiting Jesuit Fellow at Holy Cross for the fall 2014 semester. He comes from Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where he is professor of philosophy at Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy and Theology and also served as rector of faculty. At Holy Cross, his research focuses on embodiment from a dualistic perspective and he is teaching a philosophy course on "Selves and Their Bodies."

About the Lecture: Watzka describes, "With respect to the relation between the self or subject of experience and its body, two broad options are available: on the one hand, we can view the body as an object that belongs in some special way to a subject which is essentially mental. On the other hand, we can view the body (or brain) as constituting the subject of experience. Whereas the first view can allow that the self or subject of experience is embodied, the second view holds that the self is constitutively bodily. My aim is to formulate a version of substance dualism that is compatible with the insight that human persons are part of the natural world and therefore dependent on being embodied, although not being bodily. I shall argue in particular that phenomenology cannot settle the metaphysical question of the nature of the self, and that there are other considerations which speak in favor of dualism."

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