What Is the Mind?

What Is the Mind?

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Neuroscience might have banished dualist notions of mind and body but it seems that M. Descartes’ 350 year-old hunch will not go away. What hasn’t helped is the log-jam of schemes trying to explain the dreaded ‘c’ word. The race is on to build a brain, but the deeper neuroscientists dig into the soggy grey matter the more elusive consciousness becomes.  It needn’t be according to leading philosopher of mind David Papineau. If only we could accept some deceptively simple advice.

Listen the The Philosopher's Zone episode: Mind the Brain

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In the twentieth century philosophy of mind became one of the central areas of philosophy in the English-speaking world, and so it remains. Questions such as the relationship between mind and brain, the nature of consciousness, and how we perceive the world, have come to be seen as crucial in understanding the world. These days, the predominant position in philosophy of mind aims at equating mental phenomena with operations of the brain, and explaining them all in scientific terms. Sometimes this project is called ‘cognitive science’, and it carries the implicit assumption that cognition occurs in computers as well as in human and animal brains, and can be studied equally well in each of these three forms.

Before the mid-twentieth century, for a long time the dominant philosophical view of the mind was that put forward by Ren é Descartes (1596-1650). According to Descartes, each of us consists of a material body subject to the normal laws of physics, and an immaterial mind, which is not. This dual nature gives Descartes’ theory its name: Cartesian Dualism...

Continue reading Laura Weed's article: Philosophy of Mind: An Overview

Further Reading

Philosophy of mind is the branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties and consciousness, and their relationship to the physical body. The mind-body problem, i.e., the question of how the mind relates to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body...

Continue reading the New World Encyclopedia article on Philosophy of Mind

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Bad News at the Doctor - Existential Comics

Related Topics

If you’re interested in the philosophy of mind, check out some of the following related topics for more resources:

 Consciousness | DescartesNeuroscience | Personal IdentityPsychology | The Self

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