Mental substance  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Mental substance refers to the concept held by dualists and idealists, that minds are made-up of non-physical substance. This substance is often referred to as consciousness.

This is opposed to the materialists, who hold that what we normally think of as mental substance is ultimately physical matter (i.e., brains).

Descartes, who was most famous for the assertion "I think therefore I am," has had a lot of influence on the mind-body problem.

He used a more precise definition of the word "substance" than is currently popular: that a substance is something which can exist without the existence of any other substance. For many philosophers, this word or the phrase "mental substance" has a special meaning.

Gottfried Leibniz, belonging to the generation immediately after Descartes, held the position that the mental world was built up by monads, mental objects that are not part of the physical world.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Mental substance" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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