In our brief survey of body and mind we have not examined
the materialist view according to which mental entities do not
exist. Being convinced that an adequate ontology must be able to
distinguish persons from mere bodies, we have supposed that the
difference lies in a mental being having nonphysical properties
which a mere body by its very nature cannot have.
Secondly, we have not examined either the idealist view
according to which material, concrete or physical entities do
not exist. We have supposed that there are 'material' bodies and
that there are people who have bodies of this kind. The
existential postulates of both (exclusive) materialism and
(exclusive) idealism are just too farfetched to leave us with
any useful notion of existence. In not taking the objections of
this materialism and this idealism seriously, we follow the
ordinary way of speaking about physical and mental properties,
or about concrete and abstract things, because we have no reason
to deviate from that usage in this respect.
We have investigated the position of those who hold body and
mind to be two existing things, and two separate things. We have
in line with this view identified the concept of person with
that of mind or soul, and also with that of the whole or
combination of body and mind or soul. In both cases this
position turned out to be untenable.
Instead of proceeding along one of these three traditional
ways, we have chosen and prepared a fourth way by founding our
concept of personhood on the attributivist interpretation of set
structures, in particular those structures which are whole/part
configurations with one part only. It is on this view that
bodies and persons both exist as entities, albeit not as
separate entities since each body of the type concerned is part
of a person or mental being. And it is on this view that minds
(in the sense of nonpredicative things) do not exist, whereas
mental properties and relations do.