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Robyn Holden (1991) asserts that nursing must adopt a dualist notion of mind, in order to maintain scientific respectability. This solution to the vexed question of the relationship of mind and matter is itself a philosophical scandal, the prevalence of which in psychiatric theory should not be taken as a measure of its veracity. Advocates of such solutions run the risk of peremptody closing down the debate in the name of one philosophical misconception or another. Rather, we should hold our views lightly, ever willing to surrender them in the light of new empirical evidence. This paper explores some ‘new’ evidence germane to the debate, and proposes some tentative options for a non-dualist theory of mind, more in tune with the emerging person-centred emphasis in nursing theory. Our notions of who and what we are structure, and are structured by, our social and cultural relationships, and this is particularly true of the nurse—client relationship. The middle order reality approached in this paper emphasizes the role of culture and language, and the concept of person, in considering the ramifications of the mind matter debate. It does not aspire to provide the answer, but does provide an alternative point of view, a different perspective from which to consider the problem. Time and empirical research will provide the final answer, no doubt in the form of even more complex theoretical enquiries.