Essays on mind-body problem

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It is one of the debates if whether which one is physical and which one is mental. One of the toughest questions for us to answer has always been if are we a mind or a body, or are we both the same entity. The group of people who kept arguing about which one is which are the Dualists and the Materialists. The Dualists believed that the mind is separated from the body while the Materialists only believed in physical matter Better Essays words 3 pages Preview.

Some argue that they are one in the same, and others insist that they are separate entities. Throughout history, each side reveals their evidence based on a combination of science, belief, and intuition. The relationship between mind and body is mysterious, but can be described with the Cartesian dualism theory, first proposed by philosopher Rene Descartes, and further fortified by the property dualism theory Physicalism is a solution to the mind body problem, providing the idea that there is nothing above the world and accepts the mind to be a physical essence, nothing above the body.

A New Mind-Body Problem - The Hastings Center

Physicalism provides different approaches in search of the mind and its constituents. By approaching the mind as a physical entity, behaviorist, a type of physicalism, view the mind as a category containing emotions, sensations and feelings Better Essays words 2 pages Preview.

Material properties are transformed to the imagining, because once things become structured the outcome are properties, which are the elements that make them up. Previously only material, when properties become combined they become emotional, thus a consciousness is formed Accordingly, what is the relationship between mental assets and physical assets.

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When examining the mind-body problem there are three fundamentals that should be considered: the subject as an observer of both the external and internal world; the conditions of observation that include certain external and internal tactics of observation; and the observed object or entity Vacariu, p Strong Essays words 3. Trying to understand yourself as an individual to better understand your role in society and what you want to accomplish in your life.

Starting from an infant by developing a sense of self-awareness, understanding the difference between you and the person standing in front of you. Then understanding yourself as a human being; learning about your body and how your body functions. To learning functional skills, skills needed in day to day life, feeding yourself, dressing, learning how to cook Some of his concepts are still utilized in the world of psychology today. His most profound contribution to psychology was the mind-body problem. This problem is one that has been discussed and debated about for a long length of time.

Mind-body Problem What is the mind-body problem. The author is a professor Emeritus of psychology at the university of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and he is also Diplomate in Counseling Psychology, American Board of Professional psychology. This book was published in the United States of America by Praeger publishers in The main content of the book is to analyze the variation of the mind-body problem within and across the disciplines of philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, and neural science This will lead to the conclusion that there is stronger contemporary support for materialism due to neuroscience and that the Cartesian dualism argument as it is, may be wrong Is it a matter of science.

Can it be explained through neurobiological processes or is it just something that simply cannot be reduced to words. Rene Descartes had struggled with this issue centuries ago, trying to explain this problem through his idea of substance dualism. This idea states that the mind and body are of two separate worlds, the physical world and the mental world Term Papers words 5.

Descartes, a dualist, contends that the mind and body are two different substances that can exist separately.

Conversely, Nagel, a dual aspect theorist, contends that the mind and body are not substances but different properties So, too, it seems has the profession generally and this has infected philosophical research and teaching. It is urged here that discontinuous processes are crucial in the universe, in human life, in human thinking. Such ontological events cannot be handled by dualism, materialism or postmodernism Powerful Essays words 9. Philosophers have given rise to a variety of different answers to this question all with their own merits and flaws.

These answers vary quite a lot. This, of course, gave rise to one of the many major responses to the mind-body problem which is the exact opposite of dualism; monism Powerful Essays words 8. Thirdly discussing the existing approaches to the problem and finally discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the approaches. The body is that which we perceive ourselves to be with our senses. It usually includes arms, legs a head and so on. Strong Essays words 4. What is left under-examined is the notion of whether the pain is mediated by the brain, mind, or both.

We all know that pain is an instinctive "sense" if you will, necessary to the survival of all living beings. Without pain, it would go unrecognized and exacerbate to the point of death. Pain is a protective mechanism essential to survival Powerful Essays words 5. There has been a wide range of approaches to comprehend this matter, but perhaps none as renowned as Cartesian dualism.

One of his biggest critics of the twentieth century was Gilbert Ryle Powerful Essays words 4. In the middle of the twentieth century the ordinary language behaviorist movement was strongly covered by Ryle and Wittgenstein. If your beliefs and desires are caused by physical events outside of yourself, how can it be true that you act the way you do of your own free will. Are people genuinely moved by the welfare of others, or is all behavior, in reality, selfish. Sober These are questions relevant to philosophy of the mind and discussed through a variety of arguments.

Two of the most important arguments with this discussion are Cartesian dualism and logical behaviorism, both of which argue the philosophy of the mind in two completely different ways He argues that the mind and body operate as separate entities able to exist without one another. That is, the mind is a thinking, non-extended entity and the body is non-thinking and extended.

The Mind-Body Problem

His belief elicited a debate over the nature of the mind and body that has spanned centuries, a debate that is still vociferously argued today. In this essay, I will try and tackle Descartes claim and come to some conclusion as to whether Descartes is correct to say that the mind and body are distinct The Mind or Body The debate of whether or not the mind is part of the body has been ongoing for centuries. Philosophers have not yet been able to come to a consensus on this question. Is the mind the driving force of the body.

Would that make the mind and the brain one unit.


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How do we experience the world around us with this dire question unanswered. The mind and the body are two separate parts that combine to make one structure. It is important to answer this debate, so that each day we can understand why we do the things we do and so that we can understand how we experience these things that we do, rather than just assume and continue doing things for no understood r One of the main arguments taking place in these studies is the mind-body problem.

To understand this, a definition of the mind in relation to the brain, and consciousness is needed. So, the mind is where thoughts, ideas, and consciousness is found. Now consciousness is the ability to be aware of one 's internal self and the environment. Thus, the mind-body problem is the issue of how the mind and the body are connected As a prime advocate of modern philosophy, Descartes was both a rationalist and a substance dualist.

He proposed the mind and body dualism theory in an attempt to explain everything physical. For Descartes, in order for material things to exist, the mind and body have to be separate entities. Strong Essays words 4 pages Preview. The writer discusses the idea of the body being a material entity and the mind as an immaterial entity. The mind and body problems arise due to the different types of facts and their relation with each other.

I think, therefore I am. He believed that all knowledge, rather than being facts, is only composed of varying levels of belief and hence our knowledge is dubitable. However, one thing he knew for certain is that he himself must exist, because in order for him to question the nature of his existence, there must exist something to actually ask the question I will argue against this claim for there are three reasons to not believe Descartes. The first reason is that we generally come to know things through our senses. Second, there is no empirical evidence to support other minds. Third, there is a close connection between the mind and the body.

Descartes theory of substance dualism states that there is a difference between the mind and the body; your mental state is not affected by your physical state One such view became known as dualism, where the mind and body matter are two distinct, non-identical entities. Under dualism, lies interactionism, or mind-body interaction; a type of dualism where the physical world causally affects the mental world and vice versa. A strong supporter of dualism was Descartes who believed that physical and mental phenomenon only affects what goes into the brain, but opponents heavily criticized such view claiming it is not humanly conceivable and inconsistent with known laws of science The defining feature of this subject is the experience that comes along with it.

Although some people might explain it as just being awake that is not necessarily true. The story of Belle Riskin being conscious while going through surgery has also occurred to me. Whenever they were removing my wisdom teeth I was conscious in the middle of it but not for long it was only a few seconds This part of the self is the physical self, and it experiences everything in the physical world.

They both act in unison, but the mind cannot exist without the body, because the body is how the mind receives its information The position that I am taking on this topic is that of dualism and the argument that the mind and the body are indeed separate.

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The Mind-Body Problem Essay

I will support this by discussing Rene Descartes thoughts on substance dualism, and Leibniz 's Law and the indivisible nature of the mind as an additional supporting argument for mind and body dualism. I will counter this by discussing monism and the argument that the mind and the body is made up of only the physical, I will do this by discussing Daniel Dennett and discussing how science supports this Humans present a compelling species to study, as society continues to hone in on the items that empower humans to become bigger, stronger, and more intelligent.

It serves as a central nervous system in the human body. Does the soul remain despite the demise of its material extension.

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Is the soul immaterial. Are bodies, but a mere extension of forms in the physical world. Descartes, Nagel, and Plato agree that the immaterial soul and the physical body are distinct entities. Strong Essays words 2. Today this idea is taken for granted, so it is difficult to imagine that when it is was first theorized by Rene Descartes; it was a truly revolutionary idea. According to Descartes, the mind and body are two essentially different things that causally interact. The mind is an immaterial thing responsible for thought that is somehow connected to the body - a material thing, through which sense perception is possible In philosophy, the majority of studies relate to the mind.

Whether it is the main subject or just a helpful side topic to move the main subject along, this term is used often. Defining the term mind is difficult, and is a topic that is popularly studied and debated among philosophers. These qualified and knowledgeable people try to determine whether or not the mind is who people are or if they are their body or a combination. Although they have learned many helpful truths and defined other useful terms, the debate is still evident in the philosophical community today Because of her bullying, Kisa stopped attending school and ran away from home, later transforming into a tiger due to her high stress level.

This is related to the idea of the mind and body being codependent on each other — her physical body changed along with her state of mind The mind has a great degree of power. It displays this as we go through our everyday activities, continuously displaying the powers of logic, thought, memory and creativity. Yet, can the mind be more powerful than we know. Can the mind heal the body. It is possible that mental states have the capability to reduce or even eliminate pain, illnesses, and diseases of our physical body. In order to understand if the mind can heal the body, we must first specify the connection between the body and mind In contrast, the identity theory says that the mind and the brain are the same, and that the terminology that we use to describe them refer to the same thing Sober, When Descartes' friend and frequent correspondent, Marin Mersenne, wrote to him of Galileo's fate at the hands of the Inquisition, Descartes immediately suppressed his own treatise Powerful Essays words 7.

Both being gelled together until death, than having the mind go on to exist and the body being lifeless. A person lives throughout two collateral histories, one having to do with what happens to the body and in it, and the other being what happens in and to the mind. What happens to the body is public and what happens to the mind is private.

The events which reply to the body consist of the physical world, and the events of the mind consist of the mental world Good Essays words 1. In recent times, modern medicine has taken a shift towards mutualism. Outside stimuli, as perceived by the mind, affects the body either beneficially or adversely. While the body as an organism has the capacity to heal, evidence proves that the mind expedites recovery Better Essays words 1. Refer to at least two counties in you answer. Term Papers words 6. A dream is number of events and sensations that pass through the mind while sleeping.

Sleep is not a break for your mind, but it is a state of consciousness Turner, , 1. People may lose their sensor skills when they are unconscious, yet the mind is running with full ability until the end of time. What is sleep. Sleep is a natural period in which one loses complete consciousness Turner, , 1.

An average human spends one third of their life sleeping. Sleep is a basic need for the health of the human body, yet our mind does not truly rest like the rest of our body Conceptually, personal identity is the distinct personality of a man or woman, and concerns the persisting entity particular to him or her. The reasons are multiple: The medical knowledge of the last years is built on the biomedical model.

Lot of money, energy, dedication have been invested in this field, which has paid back hugely in terms of technological success. This success has made medicine a very powerful and all encompassing health care field and has reinforced the philosophy that formed the basis of biomedical paradigm Kriel, The pharmaceutical companies with their focus on commercial interests have great stakes in the existing medical system. They fund research in a big way but opt for status quo by selectively publishing their findings Singh and Singh, b which does not allow new knowledge to surface.

Established importance of drugs in the treatment of diseases, drug taking as a norm for any health concern and cultural tendency to expect quick remedies do not allow paradigmatic change to take place in favour of alternative and complementary medicine based on holistic view of human beings.

Physicians are neither aware of the philosophical framework within which they operate, nor do they realise the power such model exerts on their thinking and behaviour. So strong is the influence of these philosophical frameworks that they act as blinders and human beings who are known as cognitive misers Taylor, tend to treat them as facts and whatever does not fit into the paradigm as trivial or even nonsense.

Therefore, even when unity of mind and body presents a more realistic picture of the human functioning, physicians rather stick to the familiar dualistic thinking to match that of their mentors and colleagues. Like medical practitioners, patients also perpetuate the mind and body dualism. Being a product of modern dualistic culture, they tend to feel sceptical about nonbiological explanations for their illnesses, as they appear unreal, illegitimate and unscientific in nature Duncun, It, however, cost us dearly, as it took our focus away from the dynamic nature of human beings, their relationship with the environment and their real health concerns, and to that extent blocked the development of effective interventions.

Our journey toward knowledge and understanding of nature has never been forward moving seamlessly. Mind and body dualism and its influence on medicine is a prototype of that same journey: of great strides forward and a huge leap backward. Philosophical assumptions on which knowledge and practices are built need to be questioned and revised time and again for their viability; else they compromise our search for knowledge and effectiveness of practices originating therein. Mind-body dualism is an example of a metaphysical stance that was once much needed to unshackle science and medicine from dogma, but which later had far reaching restrictive influence on the field of medicine, on its complete understanding of real health issues, and on developing effective interventions to deal with the same.

Conflict of interest. The paper is my original unpublished work, not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Singh and S. Singh eds. What kind of metaphysical stand with respect to mind and body relationship is conducive to addressing the health issues of human beings? Which methods of investigation should supplement the analytical method to study all the influences on health of human beings?

How can one bridge the mind-body divide that is persisting despite its self-defeating consequences in the field of medicine? Where should we begin? Can alternative and complementary medical practices based on a different set of assumptions originating in different cultures be integrated with conventional medicine to effect improved health care? If yes, how?


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  • Descartes, Rene: Mind-Body Distinction | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • If no, what are the obstacles? Neeta Mehta is a Clinical Psychologist by training. She is a member of the Ethics Committee for Scientific Research Centre conducting cosmetology research. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Journal List Mens Sana Monogr v. Mens Sana Monogr. Neeta Mehta , PhD. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

    Address correspondence to: Dr. E-mail: moc. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Philosophical theory about the nature of human beings has far reaching consequences on our understanding of various issues faced by them. Introduction Mind and body dualism represents the metaphysical stance that mind and body are two distinct substances, each with a different essential nature.

    Mind and Body Dualism: Reformatory and Confining Force in Medicine Mind and body dualism was the critical conceptual leap Moon, that was desperately sought at that time in history. Mind and Body Dualism: Methodological Implications Dualism also laid the groundwork for positivism which means a logical thought based upon empirical, i. Mind and Body Dualism: A Basis of Biomedical Model The dualistic stance of human nature and analytical method determined the biomedical model in medicine.

    Singh, Emergence of diseases that have psychological, social and environmental components as part of their aetiology also challenges the hegemony of biomedicine. Concluding Remarks [see also Figure 1 ]. Open in a separate window. Figure 1. Take home message Philosophical assumptions on which knowledge and practices are built need to be questioned and revised time and again for their viability; else they compromise our search for knowledge and effectiveness of practices originating therein.

    Footnotes Conflict of interest None declared. Declaration The paper is my original unpublished work, not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Questions That This Paper Raises What kind of metaphysical stand with respect to mind and body relationship is conducive to addressing the health issues of human beings? About the Author. References 1. Descartes R. Meditations on the first philosophy. In: Hitchins R. M, editor. Great Books of the Western World. New York: Encyclopaedia Britannica; Duncan G.

    Mind-body dualism and the biopsychosocial model of pain: What did Descartes really say? Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. Hart N. The sociology of health and medicine. Lancashire:: Causeway Press; Research Methods in Information Systems. North-Holland: Amsterdam; The poverty of scientism in information systems; pp. Annals of Internal Medicine. Kriel J. The problem of humanizing medical education: Part I. Journal of Biblical Ethics in Medicine.

    Gold J. Cartesian dualism and the current crisis in medicine - A plea for a philosophical approach: Discussion paper. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.