Thursday, June 21, 2007

Folk Cardiology

After Tenet Healthcare settled a lawsuit over unnecessary heart surgeries recommened by its doctors, the plaintiff's lawyer said:

"The heart is a metaphysical part of your body. It’s not just an organ."

Expressing a common mereological intuition? Or pushing the boundaries of dualism? Ahh, the things the folk say...

5 comments:

gregates said...

This strikes me as very strange. What is the difference between a part and a metaphysical part? And I would have thought that an organ is actually a fancier sort of thing to be than a mere part.

Matt said...

When ever I see something like this I always think of a 16th century Chinese erotic novel I've read. In it, the characters, while having sex, always call out things like, "my heart, my liver!", making me think, "my liver? What does that mean?" But the point is just that there's no necessity as to what parts of the body we think are the special parts.

RW said...

Is the association of mental identity and the brain culturally universal? Does it come from the visual experience of perceiving from behind the eyes? As Matt has shown us, the association of heart and soul appears not to be, but is there any comparable cultural diversity as to the location of the mind? RW

bunny mcintosh said...

I consider all of my parts metaphysical. I'm pretty sure that my blood is filled with magic and my bones are filled with powers.

That's science.

Julian said...

RW -- perhaps it comes from the effects of head injuries? If someone survives, say, a blow to the head, but seems not to remember the events of the past three weeks upon waking up, people might have inferred that the head houses the mind. Then again, the ancient Egyptians seem not to have thought the brain was particularly important.