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Why does the mind and body problem still exist?

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An essay to discuss Why does the mind and body problem still exist? Word count 1839 inc quotes Barbara Mulcahy January 2006-01-06 This essay will explore the different theories involved in the mind and body problem. I will attempt to do this by firstly defining what the mind and body is secondly discussing what the mind and body problem is. 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. The mind is that which is responsible for one's thoughts and feelings, the seat of the faculty of reason. What is the mind and body problem? We have a conception of at least 2 different kinds of things that exist in the world mental and physical here are a few examples: Mental Physical Pain Mount Everest Euphoria Hydrogen Desire Mass Purpose Size Belief Location Any of us could generate a long list of things and we know that both these types of things are mental phenomena or physical phenomena and are part of our world. So how are the mental and physical related if at all. The mind and body problem dates back at least to Plato (b427bce). By some accounts Plato was the first dualist with the first materialist Aristotle(b384bce) close at hand. ...read more.


Later materialists included Karl Mark And Friedrich Engels, turning the idealists dialects of George Heigl upside down, provided materialists with a view on processes of a quantitative and qualititative change called Dillectual materialism and with a materialist account of the course of history known as historical materialism. In recent years Paul and Patricia Churchland have advocated an extreme form of materialism known as eliminative which holds that mental phenomena simply do not exist at all, that talk of the mental reflects a totally spurious 'folk psychology' that simply has no basis in fact, something like the way that folk science speaks of demon-cursed illness. Eliminative materialism is an extreme reductionist theory, which appears to discount the possibility of a scientific psychology. Materialism has neuroscience on its side most neuro scientists believe in the identity of mind and brain a position that may be considered related to materialism and physicalism. Another theory is functionalism which is if an object is created under the style of functionalism that means that its artistic beauty cannot be separated from its function. Functionalism is the dominant theory of mental states in modern philosophy. Functionalism was developed as an answer to the mind-body problem because of objections to both the identity theory and logical behaviourism. According to functionalists the mental states that make up consciousness can essentially be redefined as complex interactions between different functional processes. Because these processes are not limited to a particular physical state or physical medium they can be realized in multiple ways, including theoretically within non biological systems. ...read more.


It also fails to offer a convincing analysis of our knowledge of our thinking and of the content of our thought. Strengths and weaknesses of Functionalism. One of the strengths is that Functionalism emphasizes the importance of analyzing societies as systems, and that systems do give rise to distinct phenomena. In particular our attention is directed towards the ways in which social institutions are integrated with each other. For example, social class and education. Another weakness is that it is by no means clear that the series of mental events, unlike the series of brain events, cause a continuous, self contained sequence. It also denies the private experience of qualia which is things cannot be communicated, or apprehended by any other means than direct experience. To conclude it has been the purpose of this essay to explain why the mind-body problem still exists. For the present, and in all probability for a very long time to come. It must remain a matter of philosophical opinion whether mind is for anything, and if so what precisely is it for, or whether mind is merely an aspect of matter which, by the grace of nature as it were, happens to be associated with the workings of our brain. Psychology as we have known it so far could teach us only about behaviour and experience of the unified psychological organism. It might be however, that the mind science of tomorrow when paranormal as well as normal phenomena has been taken into account will be able to return an unequivocal answer to the question. So the debate continues. ...read more.

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