Borden Parker Bowne was the founder of the Boston School of Philosophy. He taught there for more than a generation. During Bowne's career at Boston University (from 1876 until his death in 1910), many of his students, who later also became professors in different areas, were inspired by his thinking and his person. That his legacy is still vivid is proved by very recent publications, e.g. Thomas O. Buford, Harold H. Oliver (ed), 'Personalism revisited. Its Proponents and Critics', Amsterdam - New York 2002. This paper begins with an attempt to summarize the whole of Bowne's philosophical work. Working in the context of a polemic with naturalism, he begins with the ideas of existence as active and self-determining and of nature as activated by the intellect and will of God. That is why the human person has the attributes of awareness and self-awareness, freedom and the ability to act, and self-control. But there is a problem. In his polemic with naturalism, Bowne develops a view that is closely related to spiritualism and is connected with the as-yet unresolved mind-body problem that originated in Descartes. It is necessary to take a further step and include the body as part of human reality and not as something external to the human being. The only satisfying answer to the mind-body problem is to see the human being as a body-soul composite. A spiritualist point of view, especially in reaction to naturalism, can be one stage on the way to a fully adequate description of the human being.
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