Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mind-body problem roundup

For readers who might be interested, I thought it would be useful to gather together in one place links to various posts on the mind-body problem and other issues in the philosophy of mind.  Like much of what you’ll find on this blog, these posts develop and apply ideas and arguments stated more fully in my various books and articles.  Naturally, I address various issues in the philosophy of mind at length in my book Philosophy of Mind, of which you can find a detailed table of contents here.  (The cover illustration by Andrzej Klimowski you see to the left is from the first edition.)  You will find my most recent and detailed exposition of the Aristotelian-Thomistic (A-T) approach to issues in the philosophy of mind in chapter 4 of Aquinas.  There is a lot of material on the mind-body problem to be found in The Last Superstition, especially in various sections of the last three chapters.  And there is also relevant material to be found in Locke, in the chapter I contributed to my edited volume The Cambridge Companion to Hayek, and in various academic articles.

On to the posts.  For an account of what the mind-body problem is, how the A-T tradition tends to approach it, and how that approach differs from that of most contemporary philosophers of mind, see:

Zombies: A Shopper’s Guide

As those posts indicate, from an A-T point of view the incorporeality of the human mind has fundamentally to do not with qualia or even intentionality per se, but rather with the intellect's capacity for forming abstract concepts.  I develop and defend James Ross's version of the argument for the immateriality of the intellect in my American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly article “Kripke, Ross, and the Immaterial Aspects of Thought.” I have discussed and defended the argument further in a series of blog posts:

The crucial difference between intellect on the one hand and sensation and imagiantion on the other is a major theme of the A-T approach to the mind, and is discussed here:
It is widely assumed that materialist explanations have succeeded in every other area of inquiry, that it is only a matter of time before the mind also succumbs to such explanation, and that progress in neuroscience supports this judgment.  I maintain that none of these claims is true and that the contemporary presumption in favor of materialism rests on various philosophical confusions, sleight of hand, and historical ignorance.  I develop the theme in general terms in the following posts:

I address the specific claim that the findings of modern neuroscience vindicate materialism in these posts:

“Against ‘neurobabble’” 

Reading Rosenberg, Part VIII [on pseudo-explanations in neuroscience]
Much of what contemporary materialist philosophers have to say in criticism of dualism rests on egregious distortions and/or ignorance of what dualist philosophers have actually said.  A good example of this tendency is provided by the work of Paul Churchland, as I have demonstrated at length in a series of posts:

I discuss a number of arguments in favor of dualism in another series of posts:

Discussions of the ideas and arguments of some historically influential anti-materialist thinkers can be found here:

Problems with Cartesian forms of dualism (which I reject) are discussed in the following posts:

 "Two, four, six, eight!  Who do you reincarnate?"

Discussion and defense of Thomistic or hylemorphic dualism (which I endorse) can be found in the following posts: 

How to animate a corpse [on Cartesian versus Aristotelian conceptions of the soul] 

Was Aquinas a dualist?

Averroism and cloud computing

Discussion of issues surrounding intentionality can be found in several posts:

"Coyne on intentionality"

A lengthy discussion of qualia and Frank Jackson’s knowledge argument can be found here:

Criticism of eliminative materialism can be found in a series of posts on Alex Rosenberg:

“Misinformation campaign” 

Reading Rosenberg, Part IX [on eliminative materialism in Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality]

The ideas of various contemporary philosophers of mind and other writers on the mind are considered in the following:

Reading Rosenberg, Part X [on the discussion of Thomas Nagel’s “bat” argument and related arguments in Alex Rosenberg’s The Atheist’s Guide to Reality] 

Body movin’, mind thinkin’ [on Quine’s behaviorism]

Da Ya Think I’m Sphexy? [on Dennett, Hofstadter, and Sphex]

“Kurzweil’s Phantasms” [review in First Things of How to Create a Mind by Ray Kurzweil]

Finally, links to various posts on scientism (which is closely related to materialism) can be found here.


  1. Ed, could you do a post explaining the four causes of a thing?
    I'm reading your book Aquinas, which I really like, but I'm a bit confused with the four causes.

    You said: there are Material, Formal, Efficient and Final.

    You said the Efficient and Final go hand in hand like Material and Formal.
    But how? If the Efficient cause of a rubber ball is a factory that made that ball and the Final cause is (let's say) to provide enjoyment to a little boy; how are those 2 related? How exactly does one point to or is directed towards the other?

    It seemed like you started to say cause and effect relationships are Efficient cause and Final cause relationships.

    That throwing a brick at a window (Efficient cause) has the effect of breaking the window (Final cause). That much I get.

    But in the 4 causes of a thing (a red rubber ball) are the Efficient cause of that ball and the Final cause of that ball in that same kind of relationship?

    Or making a knife.
    The Efficient being the people who made the knife and let's say the Final is that knife cutting a steak.
    I don't get the cause and effect relationship for Efficient cause and Final cause for some thing.

    I hope that makes some sense.

    Trouble understanding how efficient causes and final causes for something (say a rubber ball) are in a relationship similar to a cause and effect relationship.

    1. Hello, I am responding 10 years after the fact, so don't know if you will ever see this, but it may help to think of the four causes a bit differently. When we hear "cause" we may think in terms of cause and effect and probably not in terms of descriptions or aspects by which we gain a fuller understanding of something.

      So, for example, let's describe a statue:

      It is in the shape of say Marcus Aurelius. In the form of, we may say - the formal cause.

      It was sculpted by some famous sculptor - the efficient cause.

      It was made out of marble - the material cause.

      It was made to honor Marcus - the final cause.

      Interestingly, the final cause triggers everything else. "I want to honor Marcus, how may I do this? Well, a statue seems nice. It should be made to last. And I need a skilled artisan."

      In a cause and effect sort of way, the "final cause" results in the formal, efficient, and material causes.

      If you want to understand anything you run across, it is an interesting exercise to ask, "Why was this made? (final) Why was it made this way?(formal) What is it made of, and why this material and not that?(Material) How was it made?(Efficient)

      You will have a reasonable understanding of the item in question when you have addressed the four causes.

  2. One could get a pretty good education in A/T philosophy just by reading your posts and books. I am amazed at the depth and breadth of your erudition.

  3. It seemed like you started to say cause and effect relationships are Efficient cause and Final cause relationships.

    I'm sure Ed can add more, but this is essentially right: final causation is the selection of this effect rather than some other effect for the efficient cause (there has to be an explanation, for instance, why we are making red rubber balls rather than, say, blue birdbaths). That's why the final cause is called the 'cause of causes': it's the explanation for why the efficient cause has this result rather than some other. Ultimately the explanation for how the two are related is that given in the Fifth Way, but it's worth keeping in mind that any sort of direction or orientation or action that's not purely a matter of accident or chance is just what it is for something to have a final cause.

    One thing I'm not sure you're doing from your examples is keeping in mind that both efficient causes and final causes (and, indeed, the other two as well) can form a nested series. So, for instance, the final cause of cutting steak in the making of steak knives is pretty far down the way (so to speak) in the series of final causes; except for chance happenings, every thing that occurs in the making of a knife would have a final cause.

  4. That really helps.

    The 4 causes on their own made sense.
    But then when "cause and effect" was brought into the picture it threw me off a bit.
    I get what "cause and effect" relationships are; but them coupled with the terminology for "Efficient" and "Final" causes were muddying the water for me.
    I was getting how they were all related.

  5. On a related topic, is there a formal philosophical difference between "mind" and "soul"? If so, are there any good links out there which might explain this difference? I've seen the two used as synonyms before, and then again I've seen "mind" used as a synonym for "the intellect" (as distinct from the will). Yet again, I've seen the mind mentioned as distinct from the spirit (which would presumably include the soul), as for example in Robert P George's "Clash of Orthodoxies," in which he refers to the human person as "dynamic unity of body, mind, and spirit." The picture which I've developed is that the mind the the environment/medium/faculty (I don't know a good word to use as an analogy here) in/by/through which the intellect and the will work together, interact, etc. As such, it would be distinct from the soul--and from the intellect--but would be a part (or power, or faculty) of the soul. Is this a coherent definition for the mind? Or is it generally treated by philosophers as being the same as the soul?

  6. Glad you brought up the four causes. One example that confuses me, an example Prof. Feser uses in Aquinas, where he states, paraphrasing, the Moon's final cause is going the earth.

    This doesn't make sense to me because it appears the moon's orbiting around the earth is just the result of earth's gravitational impression into the space-time fabric which causes the moon to rotate around the earth. Given this, I'm not sure how the moon's orbiting is a final cause

    I must be misunderstanding something..?

  7. To the first Anon:

    Another way in which Material and Formal vs. Efficient and Final causes are related is that the first two are intrinsic, whereas the latter two are extrinsic. The first two are related because they are both within the being of which they are the cause. The latter two are related because they are both outside of the thing of which they are the cause.

  8. Maestro:

    Another way in which Material and Formal vs. Efficient and Final causes are related is that the first two are intrinsic, whereas the latter two are extrinsic.

    Not necessarily: the soul, for example, is at once the formal, efficient, and final cause of the living body, and it is not extrinsic thereto. See De Anima, 415b 9-12.


    If you have an argument for your position, give it. If you don't, go away.

  9. Maestro:

    “Another way in which Material and Formal vs. Efficient and Final causes are related is that the first two are intrinsic, whereas the latter two are extrinsic.”

    This is absolutely correct.


    “Not necessarily: the soul, for example, is at once the formal, efficient, and final cause of the living body, and it is not extrinsic thereto. See De Anima, 415b 9-12.”

    This is completely wrong.

    Insofar as the soul is the form of the body it is merely the formal cause and is intrinsic to the composite of form and matter. The soul as final cause is extrinsic and is simply the cause of the process of generation of the composite, as the end toward which that process is directed. Moreover, the soul is emphatically NOT the efficient cause of the living body; for the efficient cause is nothing else than the process of generation itself.

  10. Question:

    Are Thomists libertarians with respect to free will, or compatibilists?

  11. Ed,

    I share Charles R. Cherry's sentiments("I am amazed at the depth and breadth of your erudition.")

    Your superb books and blog have opened up a new world for me.

    Thank you for showing the truth and beauty of Thomism with such clarity.

    Please keep it up. I'll buy/read anything you write, and I recommend your work to anyone who will listen. A humble suggestion: an entire book on Thomistic dualism would be a delight!


  12. Great Roundup!

    I still have to read all your posts on the Mind-Body problem and this post really helps :)

    I still have to read your 'Philosophy of the Mind', which I am looking forward to since I enjoyed your witty 'The Last Superstition' and I think you did an excelent job in explaining Thomas Aquinas in 'Aquinas'.


    At certain trolls: sure Feser promotes his books... but so does everybody else.

    Look at the shameful attempts of Hawking to promote his book by blasting religion (think quite unworthy of a man such as S. Hawking)

    Besides there is nothing inherently wrong in promoting your own work.

    I'd add that Feser's books are worth buying, at least 'Aquinas' and 'The Last Superstition' (I did not read the others yet).

    If more people would read 'Aquinas' (and understand it a bit) there would be far less trolls in the blogosphere :)

  13. PS:

    Prof. Feser I'd like to know what you think about the theories of bicamerality proposed by Julian Jaynes

  14. Anonymous:

    >> This doesn't make sense to me because it appears the moon's orbiting around the earth is just the result of earth's gravitational impression into the space-time fabric which causes the moon to rotate around the earth. Given this, I'm not sure how the moon's orbiting is a final cause.

    That is a good point.

    I think that a Thomist could reply that the series of causal events that ultimately results in the end of the series (i.e. the telos) is part of a complex causal system. Again, the telos is just the end result of complex interactions within that causal system, and basically means that given that arrangement, you get this outcome as a result, but the telos is not necessarily within any single substance in the causal sequence. That means that the telos is not present within the moon itself as a goal to which it aspires, but rather the telos is the end result of the total physical system itself.

    Personally, I hate calling it a final “cause”, because it results in an equivocation that causes paradox and confusion. A cause necessarily must occur either before (or simultaneous with) an effect, and so the formal, efficient and material causes would all count as “causes”. However, the final “cause” occurs at the end of the causal sequence, and thus is not a genuine cause at all. But it is a part of the explanation, and the confusion between causes and reasons results in the paradox of how the final cause, which occurs at the end of the causal sequence, must be present at the beginning of the causal sequence somehow, being a “cause” after all. And that results in the drive to postulate some intellect that has the goal in mind at the beginning, analogous to how a human craftsman makes an artifact. But again, it all due to equivocation and confusion.

  15. Hello all,

    I'll write up a post on the four causes, and address the moon example there too. (Briefly, the moon example was merely intended as a simple illustration to make the point that final causality need not involve anything like biological function. Strictly speaking, though, the moon's orbit is not a reflection of its final causality qua moon but rather qua massive object. It has no essential connection to the earth per se.)

    Charles and Mike,

    Thanks for your very kind words!

  16. Dr Feser, I'm excited to read your expounded explanation of the moon example visa via final cause. Your books have been very revealing to me, and am very happy you are willing to interact with we who still have questions after having read said books.

    dguller, I sometimes think that the final cause may better named the "purpose".

  17. The mind-body problem arises from an intuition that, somehow, the mind is fundamentally different than matter. If that is the case, then at least two questions immediately arise.

  18. I'm not sure if you'll notice this comment Dr Feser, but I finished "Aquinas" at the start of June. I immediately ordered and read "Locke"; before I had finished "Locke" I had ordered "The Last Superstition".
    For the first time in my life I felt the persuasive power of Thomism.
    I won't say that I have been converted to this way of thinking - but I will say that you have identified what is distinctive about modern philosophy, and that you have examined it's foundation and demonstrated that there are cracks in the edifice.

    You have also shown that contemporary modes of thought were not inevitable, and that they are not rationally inescapable.

    John Tosh argues that history provides the modern world with a rich intellectual and experential resource, which allows us to see radically different answers to practical problems and to conceive alternatives to modern prejudices and biases. Your "trilogy" of books on modern thought provides a substantive resource for anyone seeking to understand our past, or anyone searching for answers to the moral and religious crises of the modern world.

    Graham Veale

  19. I agree with my fellow posters: Great roundup! This is enough food for thought for some time. I am looking forword to your next book about natural law ethics, Dr Feser!

  20. Interaction & Causality Part 1 of 3 ~

    Important preliminaries are discussed in http://disq.us/p/1lx3d2k which opens with “Mind Body Interaction” – and – then – God can interface seamlessly with nature. Move it. And far more. Etc. And He not only creates said nature, but other natures too. One of the differences between a tree's nature and the nature of Man is, well, among other things, the immaterial which outreaches the corporeal. God creates that too. He might, and certainly can, even grant it authority, as in the ontic-reach of faculty or capacity over and above. And so on. If interaction is a problem, then God isn't interacting. Think about what it is that God creates with respect to proportionate causality. We must not make the mistake of Pantheism or of Idealism here. Perhaps our tendency toward mechanistic physicalist thinking muddies our premises with respect to interaction whereas sound metaphysical causal closure vis-à-vis the exclusive ontic real estate of proportionate causality, concurrentism, and the ground of all ontic-possibility seamlessly and causally amalgamates that which Informs and that which is Informed.

    Aquinas on the will as the efficient cause of movement:

    Quote: "A thing is said to move in two ways: First, as an end; for instance, when we say that the end moves the agent. In this way the intellect moves the will, because the good understood is the object of the will, and moves it as an end. Secondly, a thing is said to move as an agent, as what alters moves what is altered, and what impels moves what is impelled. In this way the will moves the intellect and all the powers of the soul, as Anselm says (Eadmer, De Similitudinibus). The reason is, because wherever we have order among a number of active powers, that power which regards the universal end moves the powers which regard particular ends. ... Now the object of the will is good and the end in general, and each power is directed to some suitable good proper to it, as sight is directed to the perception of color, and the intellect to the knowledge of truth. Therefore the will as agent moves all the powers of the soul to their respective acts, except the natural powers of the vegetative part, which are not subject to our will." (S.T. I q. 82 art. 4) End quote.

    We find in reality the unavoidable “order among a number of active powers” in the real sense of concurrentism [ http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/01/metaphysical-middle-man.html ] moving from the ontic-proximal to the ontic-distal and Top Down Causation finds all created realities in some real sense within that same state of affairs (concurrentism) and, just the same, moving downhill, we find other (created, fully ontic) beings/wills who in like manner fully "concur" with that which is their own swath of ontic real estate. How real are those more distal sorts of concurrence? Given the Decree in question streaming from the wellspring of all proportionate causality, they are absolutely real, and, given said *God* we need not acquiesce to a full throttled Idealism (we are God’s thoughts – full stop) or Absurdity (we do not actually exist) in order to rationally affirm such metaphysical landscapes. Both proximally and distally it is the case that that which informs supersedes that which is informed. The "verb" therein is fully ontic, irreducible and springboards off of the rational ground of all possible being, thereby aborting all collapse into the silly non-starters of deism, pantheism, idealism, or absurdity.


  21. Interaction & Causality Part 2 of 3 ~

    We are speaking here of the Adamic in the sense of the most fundamentally decreed and hence to say of the Last Adam that the Son had no Form and "therefore" was not an individual prior to the creative act of God (Genesis 1:1) or was not in full the proverbial "I" in the full sense "but for" said creative act is to enslave that which informs to that which is informed, which is metaphysical nonsense. Of course that which informs "interacts" with that which is informed and (perhaps) in vectors and degrees which we do not fully appreciate (perhaps) as a consequence of an approach muddied by physicalist thinking rather than by thinking built atop premises of sound metaphysical causation. The Necessary, that which informs, surfaces as that which is not static, is not processionless, but is "living" in the absolute sense and that which ontologically supersedes the informed in a sense akin to concurrentism. Whether proximal or distal (God downward….), such is the nature of all real estate in question.

    The only question is this: Can *God* create in this or that created being the ontologically irreducible Will Itself just as He creates in that same sense and in that same created being that which is the ontologically irreducible "Existence Itself"? Given *God* Who is reality's eternal wellspring with respect to the principle of proportionate causality, the answer is obvious: of course He can. On the content of proportionate causality, and Decree, and the Imago Dei, and the irreducible “Will/I” and existence itself, the content at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/07/first-without-second.html is insightful. Immutable Being Itself affords that which nothing else can: ex nihilo. If God cannot grant to non-entity that which is His Alone to grant (existence, being, will, and so on), well then we, you and I, the created beings, do not "actually" exist as that which is other than God and we are then spiraling once again amid that collapse into the ontic-silliness of the non-starters of deism, pantheism, idealism, or absurdity.

    In a roundabout way Feser's essay (and the com-box in particular) at http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2013/11/averroism-and-cloud-computing.html are insightful in a few ways here.

    I've never seen one argument, not one, ever, which supports any good reason for the "concern" that there is *not* that which is the ontologically irreducible "immaterial will", that which outlives the corporeal vis-à-vis survivalism trumping corruptionism. At the end of the day, all our definitions force the reality of that which exists without any material "stuff".


  22. Interaction & Causality Part 3 of 3 ~

    Again, I've never seen one argument, not one, ever, which supports any good reason for the "concern" that there is *not* that which is the ontologically irreducible "immaterial will", that which outlives the corporeal vis-à-vis survivalism trumping corruptionism. At the end of the day, all our definitions force the reality of that which exists without any material "stuff".

    The essay on “SURVIVALISM, CORRUPTIONISM, AND MEREOLOGY” by David Oderberg at https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B7SKlRTfkUieTVFfdl8xQjBnU2M/edit agrees with Feser and the vast majority of Christians.

    The syntax of incarnation of course is extreme should we demand or expect *not* sound metaphysical causal closure *but* instead in muddied thinking demand that the stuff of contingent and mutable causations account for the whole-show. As Sean Carroll’s “Poetic Naturalism” alludes to, the illusory awaits all syntax given such paltry means. What the First Adam *is* and what the Last Adam *is* dissolves any rational concerns about "interaction". Christianity just is ontology’s Extreme Dualism as it, and no other, weds the Necessary and Contingent, weds that which Informs and that which is Informed within the Imago Dei amid Groom/Bride in a fashion that is unparalleled by any other such interface/interaction. But then there is only one, and not many, such Decrees from He Who is the wellspring of all proportionate causality.

    We are not Angels, nor Galaxies, nor Creatures With Many Eyes around the Throne of God. We are “the Adamic”, that which is predestined for nothing less than the semantics of incarnation (Scotus arrives on scene perhaps) as a wedding is Decreed. Such cannot be defined by “other decrees” with respect to “other created beings”. Not in whole at least. When the body is dust, we yet persist, yet motion, yet see, though in some real sense we are to put on the incorruptible through the corporeal’s resurrection as the Whole Man soundly, finally, traverses all possible “interaction” amid Bride/Groom.

    Physics in contrast to Communique: Within the Trinitarian Life we find that Communicate transcends efficient and final causality as that which is caused does not exist before in Act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in Act, as described in Garrigou-Lagrange’s “The Trinity and God the Creator”. Once again important preliminaries are discussed in http://disq.us/p/1lx3d2k which opens with “Mind Body Interaction”.

    Sean Carroll maps all such causation in his essay on Top Down Causation into the materialist's only option of that which is fundamentally, or irreducibly, or ultimately, or cosmically the illusory at http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2011/08/01/downward-causation/ as any hope of ontological emergentism ends in nothing more than syntax, a kind of Wittgenstein-esc language game. Given Non-Theism’s anemic metaphysical means/ends, such is forced to do so where causation is concerned. Causal closure just is annihilation of the "I/Will" in question (and far, far more) given the physicalist's creed.

    – http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/09/mind-body-interaction-whats-problem.html
    – http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2011/05/mind-body-problem-roundup.html
    – http://edwardfeser.blogspot.com/2016/03/so-what-are-you-doing-after-your-funeral.html

  23. Proportionate Causality, Superseding Ontic, & Interaction:

    Another way of saying much of this is to say that the “problem” of the Divine MindInteractionThe World is to say that “that” just is the “problem” of (in the contingent being) the Mind/Body interaction. It’s a bit tedious (perhaps) but, as a rough sketch, something like this:

    The Nature of God and of His Relationship to the World

    In E. Feser’s book titled “Five Proofs of the Existence of God” we find an appropriately nuanced approach to Negative & Positive Theology as well as to the triad of univocal vs. equivocal vs. analogical.

    There are nine hits in the search of the Kindle book for the word “negative” many of which zero in on Negative Theology not being the WHOLE story. Also, much of that is in the chapter titled “The Nature of God and of His Relationship to the World”. That chapter also unpacks the univocal vs. equivocal and the analogical modes of reference. Two examples of those two approaches:

    “……affirmative rather than negative claims? While negative theology is part of the story of God’s nature, then (since attributes like immateriality and immutability obviously tell us what God is not), it cannot be the whole story, or it would undermine the very arguments that led us to affirm that there is a God in the first place…..

    “…..confining ourselves to univocal and equivocal terms would make it impossible to assign any positive content to what we say about God. We would be left with agnosticism, or (if we cannot even explain what we mean by the claim that God exists) even atheism. Indeed, it would not be clear that we are saying anything with any meaning at all. Yet the proofs for the existence of God that we have considered seem perfectly intelligible and give us positive knowledge about God’s existence and nature. The way to resolve this impasse is to see that there is a third use of language, the analogical use, which is motivated independently of the problem of theological language but is readily applicable to that problem. We can make literal, positive statements about God and his nature by applying the analogy of attribution and the analogy of proper proportionality…..”

    Those two excepts are obviously given without the large swath of *context* which the book offers.

    Given the fact that our Non-Theist friends lack in their causal means that which causally sums to the Principle of Proportionate Causality (...the PPC for brevity ...see definitions at http://disq.us/p/1lwnawv ...) then when it comes to God's Creative Act with respect to being and with respect to volition and with respect to intentionality they are simply at a loss as to how to unpack causality without reducing all of reality to that of the Grand-Automaton (or the illusory – and so on).

    We come to this basic word-picture:

    Non-Being ← → Proportionate Causality ← → Being ← → Pre-Eden ← → Proportionate Causality vis-à-vis Dualism ← → Eden (…proposal not wedding…) ← → [A] Privation or else ← → Proportionate Causality ← → [B] God’s Ideal (…wedding not proposal…)

    It's obviously more layered than that, but, it seems so common of an error to conflate non-identicals that it seems worth pointing out the general nature of things with respect to "causal content" and so on.


  24. Continuing……

    Proportionate Causality and the Positive Metaphysic (as opposed to “only” a negative theology) arrives again and again in this interface. One wonders whether God *can* and in fact *did* create a being in His Own Image with respect to the principle of proportionate causality *itself*. After all, we rationally affirm that Being Itself, as in God Who is Immaterial, both can and does interact with matter/material, and the reasons why He can are obvious given Being's superseding ontic over both Material and Non-Being. And *we* of course necessarily live and move and have and find our own being-itself from the *only* metaphysical wellspring of all ontological possibility, namely, "Being Itself / GOD".

    I am there using "being itself" to refer to what the Self is in contrast to "Matter", which requires moving carefully. On the PPC there was the prior of Non-Being, and, then, Being which is not "to be a tree” as Feser notes but rather to be at all. Two interesting facts arise here. First, clearly that sense finds the ontic of be-*ing* and it is *different* than "a tree". Secondly, it is that same dividing line which grants, and forces, the affairs of Being's superseding ontic over both Material and Non-Being mentioned earlier as we approach the rational affirmation of the Immaterial God seamlessly interacting with the Material.

    There’s an interface there of ontic distincts, or of ontic non-identicals, and we seem to see the seamlessness of that interface when it comes to God/World, which just *is* the interface of “The Divine Mind / World” but, then, we seem to “pull back” when it comes to “Our Mind / World”, which is curious. Again, the reason that is curious is Being's superseding ontic over both Material and Non-Being.

    That is all rough and hurried, but, it may offer something on the question of Consciousness or the Mind/Body interaction. Recall again that in the Trinitarian Life – and therefore at Reality’s Irreducible Substratum it is the case that Communicate transcends efficient and final causality as that which is caused does not exist before in Act, whereas that which is communicated exists before in Act, as described in Garrigou-Lagrange’s “The Trinity and God the Creator”. It is the Trinitarian metaphysic alone which – at the end of the proverbial Ontic-Line – whether one travels Upstream or Downstream – provides lucidity given that there alone is reason’s last reply – reason’s final terminus – found amid the Wider, Thicker Heavy-Meta of Communique as opposed to the Narrower, Thinner Physics. Our progressions upstream and downstream in fact retain Mind and Reason Itself hence we are rational to stand firm on reason's last reply – on reason’s final terminus. Or, to say it another way, any and all Midstream progressions cannot retain coherence should one's Upstream and Downstream termini finally forfeit the proverbial Means & Ends thereof.