• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Why does the mind and body problem still exist?

Extracts from this document...


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.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Arguments For Property Dualism

    be something about the experience of colour which is not captured by the physicalist picture that Mary originally knew. Some properties of colour must therefore be non-physical. This supports the idea that the mind is a non-physical property of the physical entity, the brain.

  2. Synoptic Study, Satre, Engels and Marx

    Facticity is a limitation of freedom not a limitation of our freedom. Although this new feature of the theory does solve some of the more abstract problems it still leaves many unanswered problems about our absolute freedom. Existentialism may be a fine theory for mid centaury French bourgeois intellects who

  1. How successful are Descartes' arguments for the real distinction of mind from body? Upon ...

    I do not know, and for the moment I shall not argue the point as I can only make judgments about things are known to me" (Descartes, meditations, p18)

  2. Hume has shown miracles do not exist

    Hume's points can also be seen as sweeping generalisations. It is unclear how many witnesses Hume thinks would be sufficient to make a miracle credible. He also fails to define what 'ignorant and barbarous nations' are. This comment is old fashioned and entirely disproved by the fact that miracles are also claimed in modern society.

  1. Assess Functionalism

    We can realise things in different ways, for example - the monetary value of �1 can be realised in different ways, such as; two 50p s, five 20p s, or a single coin. - This proves that our minds do not strictly have to be brains.

  2. There is no Reason to Assume I will exist after my Death.

    the soul, the experience of deju-vu being the soul remembering or recollecting a previous existence. He reasoned that the soul has no specific evil to destroy it and therefore must be immortal, arguing that the immortality of the soul and the occurrence of deju-vu proved the existence of an afterlife.

  1. Evaluate the claim that the soul is distinct from the body:

    In this way, Ryle argued that talk of the soul was talk about the way a person acted and integrated with others in the world. It was not separate and distinct. To describe someone as clever or happy did not require the existence of a separate thing called mind or soul.

  2. Reductive physicalist accounts of the mind fail to fully explain the nature of mental ...

    Behaviourists furthermore claim that all learning/mental stats/behaviour can be fully explained in terms of simple associative mechanisms. Thus, ultimately, via a huge range of actual and potential behaviour, it would be possible to study and understand the mind through biology, psychology, neurology and behavioural psychology.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work