In David Armstrong’s thought-provoking work titled, The Nature of Mind, he explains that the most convincing way to make sense of the mind-body problem is to approach it in a materialistic way. Specifically, Armstrong shows that the science of physico-chemical processes of the brain is the best way to explain the nature of our mind. He goes on to explain traditional and dispositional behaviorism, and states his own materialistic take on behaviorism. His arguments throughout his paper are very logical, and though there have been arguments against his explanations, he effectively justifies the materialistic view of the mind.
Armstrong begins his paper with a question for the reader of what it means to have a mind. It is well understood that man has the ability to perceive, to think, to feel, and so on, but what does it mean to perceive, to think, and to feel? The answer, he believes, lies in science. Seeing that science is constantly and rapidly gaining ground, he asserts that “...we can give a complete account of man in purely physico-chemical terms” (295?) Pointing out the fact that this view has been accepted by various scientists throughout time, he explains it is the most reliable way to approach the mind-body problem.
The reason why Armstrong is so set on a scientific explanation is that he believes it is the only place, besides in mathematics, where people can reach an actual consensus. Even if it may take years or lifetimes, science has proven time and time again to
Consciousness, Thomas Nagel states, “is what makes the mind-body problem really intractable.” Here he refers particularly to phenomenal consciousness, which Block defines as “perceptual experiences,” and Nagel describes as “something that it is to be.’ This experiential element appears to present a challenge to the physicalist assertion that all mental processes are explicable in terms of physical brain states, biochemical reactions and the laws of physics. Frank Jackson presents this argument in his 1982 thesis Epiphenomenal Qualia. Whilst Jackson’s argument occupies a seminal position in philosophy of mind, whether he adds anything new to knowledge of the nature of conscious experience, is debateable. Thomas Nagel’s What is it like to
The mind is a complex myriad of thoughts and psychological systems that even philosophers today cannot entirely grapple. It is composed of the senses, feelings, perceptions, and a whole series of other components. However, the mind is often believed to be similar or even the same as the brain. This gives rise to the mind-brain identity theory, and whether there exists a clear distinction between the physical world and the non-material mind. In this paper, I will delineate the similarities and differences between mind and brain, describe the relevant ideas such as functionalism and materialism, and provide explanations on how these theories crystallized. Further, I will discuss the differing views of this concept from multiple philosophers’ perspectives and highlight the significance of each. Ultimately, I will defend the view that the mind-brain identity theory is false by analyzing its errors and examining the invalid assumptions it makes about consciousness.
When contemplating the relationship between the mind and body, most philosophers advocate either dualism, the view that the mind and body belong to the mental and physical categories respectively, or physicalism, the stance that there is only the physical. (Gertler 108) Brie Gertler upholds the former perspective, and her essay In Defense of Mind-Body Dualism aims to disprove physicalism by establishing the possibility of experiencing pain without the firing of C-fibers, which physicalists believe is identical to pain. (110) She claims that thought experiments are best for determining matters of possibility, but only if such experiments utilize “sufficiently comprehensive” concepts. After first clarifying why Gertler emphasizes the need for
The 'mind-body' problem has troubled philosophers for centuries. This is because no human being has been able to sufficiently explain how the mind actually works and how this mind relates to the body - most importantly to the brain. If this were not true then there would not be such heated debates on the subject. No one objects to the notion that the Earth revolves around the sun because it is empirical fact. However, there is no current explanation on the mind that can be accepted as fact. In 'What is it like to be a bat?', Thomas Nagel does not attempt to solve this 'problem'. Instead, he attempts to reject the reductionist views with his argument on subjectivity. He
One of the most talked about concepts of philosophy is that of the mind-body problem. In short, the mind-body problem is the relationship between the mind and the body. Specifically, it’s the connection between our mental realm of thoughts, including beliefs, ideas, sensations, emotions, and our physical realm, the actual matter of which we are made up of the atoms, neurons. The problem comes when we put the emphasis on mind and body. Are the mind and body one physical thing, or two separate entities. Two arguments have stood amongst the rest, Interactionism and physicalism. Interactionism claims that mind and matter are two separate categories with a casual integration between the two. By contrast, physicalism draws from the idea that all aspects of the human body are under one physical being, there are no nonphysical connections that come into play. While both state a clear and arguable statement regarding mind-body problem, Interactionism gives a more plausible answer to the mind-body problem because although it may seem like we are tied as one, our minds have a subconscious that influence our thoughts, actions, ideas, and beliefs, which is completely independent from the realm of our physical matter.
For centuries philosophers have engaged themselves into conversations and arguments trying to figure out the nature of a human person; this has lead to various theories and speculation about the nature of the human mind and body. The question they are tying to answer is whether a human being is made of only the physical, body and brain, or both the physical or the mental, mind. In this paper I will focus on the mind-body Identity Theory to illustrate that it provides a suitable explanation for the mind and body interaction.
In David M. Armstrong’s “The Nature of Mind”, Armstrong praises the field of science and seeks to put the concept of mind into terms that agree with science’s definition of minds. His interest is in the physico-chemical, materialist view of man. Armstrong considers science to be the authority over other disciplines because of its reliability and result in consensus over disputed questions.
Thesis: The mind-body problem arises because of the lack of evidence when looking for a specific explanation of the interaction of mental and physical states, and the origin and even existence of them.
In his new life, he experiences minor signal lags and alcohol has lost its intoxicating effects, but apart from that there’s not much difference in experience. Though, once he settles in, a major epistemological question dawns on him: “Where is he?” To answer this, he considers 3 different views of the relationship between the mind and body.
Thomas Nagel approaches the mind body problem in a different manner. Nagel acknowledges that there is a close connection between mental life and the body, but he further questions the origin of our
The mind is perhaps the most fascinating part of the human body due to its complexity and ability to rationalize. In essence, the mind-body problem studies the relation of the mind to the body, and states that each human being seems to embody two unique and somewhat contradictory natures. Each human contains both a nature of matter and physicality, just like any other object that contains atoms in the universe. However, mankind also is constituted of something beyond materialism, which includes its ability to rationalize and be self-aware. This would imply that mankind is not simply another member of the world of matter because some of its most distinctive features cannot be accounted for in this manner. There are obvious differences between physical and mental properties. Physical properties are publically accessible, and have weight, texture, and are made of matter. Mental properties are not publically accessible, and have phenomenological texture and intentionality (Stewart, Blocker, Petrik, 2013). This is challenging to philosophers, because man cannot be categorized as a material or immaterial object, but rather a combination of both mind and body (Stewart, Blocker, Petrik, 2013). Man embodies mind-body dualism, meaning he is a blend of both mind and matter (Stewart, Blocker, Petrick, 2013). The mind-body problem creates conflict among philosophers, especially when analyzing physicalism in its defense. This paper outlines sound
It can be very difficult to find a universal proposal that offers a solution to the mind body problem. While solutions to this problem differ greatly, all attempt to answer questions such as: What makes a mental state mental? What is the fundamental nature of the mental? Or more specifically speaking, what makes a thought a thought? Or what makes a pain a pain? In an attempt to answer these questions, many philosophers over the centuries have rejected, proposed, or altered preexisting theories in order to keep up with the thinking and science of their times. Entering the 21st century their still exit a plethora of theories, some stronger than others, which include Cartesian dualism, physicalism,
The mind-body problem is an age-old topic in philosophy that questions the relationship between the mental aspect of life, such as the field of beliefs, pains, and emotions, and the physical side of life which deals with matter, atoms, and neurons. There are four concepts that each argue their respective sides. For example, Physicalism is the belief that humans only have a physical brain along with other physical structures, whereas Idealism argues that everything is mind-based. Furthermore, Materialism argues that the whole universe is purely physical. However, the strongest case that answers the commonly asked questions such as “Does the mind exist?” and “Is the mind your brain?” is Dualism.
Are minds physical things, or are they nonmaterial? 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 203). 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. Robert Lane, a professor at the University of West Georgia, define the two as follows: Cartesian dualism is the theory that the mind and body are two