The Importance of the Body

  • Hywel D. Lewis
Part of the Philosophy of Religion Series book series (PHRES)


Account has already been taken of a person’s peculiarly close involvement with his body in the conditions to which we are normally subject in our present existence. The dualist, as was also stressed, has no need to deny this, and it is very unwise for him to do so. One obvious form of this involvement, and the one with which we have been mainly concerned hitherto, is the causal one. Our mental states are conditioned by physical ones. This is a simple matter of experience for all. If I fall asleep I have only dream thoughts. If I am tired my thoughts are sluggish, or if in a fever my thoughts are delirious. Hit me on the head and I may have no thoughts or sensations at all, or cut my finger with a knife and I am in pain. I say that this is simple in the sense that the most simple-minded person is aware of it, even brutes. At a more sophisticated level we understand better how this comes about. We know about the nervous system and the circulation of the blood and the special function of the brain; and experts are learning about this today in ways that go far beyond the grasp of the layman. No one seriously doubts the closeness of our involvement with the body in this sense.


Bodily State Sophisticated Level Somatic Sensation Endless Variety Continue Identity 
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Copyright information

© Hywel D. Lewis 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hywel D. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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