Psychophysical Parallelism

Discipline: Philosophy

Doctrine that mental and physical events are of entirely different kinds, so that while mental events can cause other mental events and physical events can cause other physical events they cannot cause each other but occur in parallel series.

If I touch a hot stove, feel a pain, withdraw my hand, and decide to be more careful in future, the touching causes the withdrawal but not the decision, while the pain (itself caused, if at all, by some preceding mental event) causes the decision but not the withdrawal.

As this example suggests, it is hard to keep the two chains properly separated. The doctrine is similar in nature and in motivation to occasionalism, but occasionalism attributes all causation to God.

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