© 1978

Persons and Minds

The Prospects of Nonreductive Materialism

  • Authors

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 57)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XIII
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 3-10
    3. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 11-25
  3. Mind/Body Identity

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 27-27
    2. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 28-33
    3. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 34-44
    4. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 45-59
    5. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 60-77
  4. Toward a Theory of Persons

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 79-79
    2. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 81-96
    3. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 146-170
    4. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 171-196
  5. Sentience and Culture

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 197-197
    2. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 199-224
    3. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 225-242
    4. Joseph Margolis
      Pages 243-262
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 263-310

About this book


Persons and Minds is an inquiry into the possibilities of materialism. Professor Margolis starts his investigation, however, with a critique of the range of contemporary materialist theories, and does not find them viable. None of them, he argues, "can accommodate in a convincing way the most distinctive features of the mental life of men and oflower creatures and the imaginative possibilities of discovery and technology" (p. 8). In an extraordinarily rich analysis, Margolis carefully considers and criticizes mind-body identity theories, physicalism, eliminative materialism, behaviorism, as inadequate precisely in that they are reductive. He argues, then, for ramified concepts of emergence, and embodiment which will sustain a philosophically coherent account both of the distinctive non-natural character of persons and of their being naturally embodied. But Margolis provokes us to ask, what is an em­ bodied mind? The crucial context for him is not the plain physical body as such, but culture. "Persons", he writes, "are in a sense not natural entities: they exist only in cultural contexts and are identifiable as such only by refer­ ence to their mastery of language and of whatever further abilities presuppose such mastery" (p. 245). The hallmark of persons, in Margolis's account, is their capacity for freedom, as well as their physical endowment. Thus he writes, " . . . their characteristic powers - in effect, their freedom - must inform the order of purely physical causes in a distinctive way" (p. 246).


animals body corpus culture identity ideology interaction language acquisition materialism nature perception proposition second language

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Persons and Minds
  • Book Subtitle The Prospects of Nonreductive Materialism
  • Authors Joseph Margolis
  • Series Title Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1978
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-90-277-0854-0
  • Softcover ISBN 978-90-277-0863-2
  • eBook ISBN 978-94-009-9801-8
  • Series ISSN 0068-0346
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XIV, 310
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics Philosophy of Mind
  • Buy this book on publisher's site