Saturday, August 31, 2019

Philosophy of Mind Essay

Since centuries, our philosophers have been trying to unravel mysteries of our memory, thought processes, different emotions, will power and imaginations culminating into what is known as different intellectual and conscious part of our personality.   Our mind, as our great literary figures have posited, is a stream of our consciousness and is a part of our brain’s inherent processes. Our mind is a place where our reasoning power gets the shape and takes the practical form. As also said in Indian Vedic philosophy, He who knows the receptacle (Ayatana) verily becomes the receptacle of his people. Mind is verily the receptacle (of all our knowledge).† – (Chhandogya Upanishad, V-i-5.) Different studies by our philosophers have been compounded into various theories each delving into the depth of various aspects of our mind processes. Its earliest studies have been found in the works of Zarathushtra, Mahatma Budha, Plato, Aristotle, Adi Shankara and many more ancient Greek and Indian Philosophers.   Many of the pre scientific philosophers based their theories on relationship between the mind and the soul, supernatural elements of faith, having a feeling of closeness with divinity or god, but on the other hand modern theorists based their theories on their research and scientific studies of the brain. These theories rely heavily on the fact that the mind is a phenomenon of the brain and is a tantamount of consciousness. The study of the relationship between the body and mind is the most central aspect to the philosophy of mind, despite of the fact that there are number of issues related to the nature of the mind which does not take into consideration its relationship to the physical body. The most crucial and complex differences of thoughts are arising among different theorists regarding the exact and most appropriate theory of mind. Though various theorists have developed their own different versions to make us understand our own functioning of mind yet as more and more theories are coming up, more and more it is getting difficult to come out with the best theory of all. As all theories are able to capture the intensity of readers to make us understand the core of our mind and thoughts, yet it is very challenging to understand â€Å"Which is the best?† Here I am trying to unravel the mystery to understand which theory-Dualism, mind-brain identity or functionalism is a correct theory to understand all about mind. Dualism is a most important school of thought that has tried to solve the most paradoxical and most important relationship of mind and body problems. It has tried to make several attempts to sure that mind and body in some way or the other detach from each other. Roots of Dualism dates far back to Plato, Aristotle and the Sankhya and Yoga schools of Hindu philosophy but in a most precise way it was understood by Rene Descartes only in the 17th century. His philosophical disposition is based on the fact that the mind is independent in itself and constitutes two different kinds of substances like â€Å"res extensa meaning extended things, physical things† and â€Å"res cogitans means thinking things†, (Descartes, Online Edition ). The thinking things are beyond the dimensions of time and space and are thus separate in itself whereas Property dualists thinks that there are several independent properties known to us. It is quite clear from his disposition that he is trying to explain the importance and concept of soul, giving religious discourse. But in this all, he has tried to explain that there is an interaction of mind in pineal gland, from where there is a control on bodily actions and receive sensory perceptions. But this approach of Dualism is not without criticism as its properties are more of dubious in nature. Their theory is based on religion and their ardent faith but no element of scientific fact is found in this. If we visualize and understands that if there is a soul in our physical body and the soul can have drastic effect then it is quite natural that it should be able to generate new energy to bring the bodies into moment.    It is argued that if the soul exists and it can affect the body then it must be able to create new energy to move the body, but this is sheer violation of the theory of the conservation principle.   Owen Flanagan, in his The Science of the Mind says,†If the mind according to Descartes is not a physical system therefore it also could not have any energy to prove herself but in-order to increase this physical energy, the need of the hour is to get it transferred from other physical system but it is not possibl†e. (Owen Flanagan, pp. 21, Mind To overcome the limitations of the Dualism, several philosophers and psychologists began to ignore the very concept and existence of mind itself and by doing so their expectations to touch the cord of mind began to flow towards the realistic parts of our lives. Therefore in the beginning the new generation of philosophers came up with what is known as Type Identity Theory.  Ã‚   They posters the view that though the structure of every person’s brain is similar yet in the brain of every person there are certain differences therefore it is not possible to find oneself in a position of same neurological state. Therefore this theory soon took the shape of Token Taken theory implying that if there are two people having different neuropsychological states, then what is it that brings them into the same mental state? And to this they answered that it is due to the function of those two states only that had created them same. This leads to functionalism theory, which says that, â€Å"Two different brain-state tokens would be tokens of the same type of mental state if the two brain states had the same causal relations to the input stimulus that the organism receives, to its various other â€Å"mental† states, and to its output behavior†. (Functionalism, online edition). In simple words, he said that there were supposed to be two thoughts, which are same, and all of the inputs, internal and external, lead to the same output. With this statement, psychologists tried to bring all the conditions of the mind set in equilibrium. This leads to the functionalism theory. Though there are several problems to this approach too yet we can very say that if this theory of functionalism is adopted, it will take us into next major breakthrough, but all is not well with Functionalism too as it failed to explain in clear terms the fact that even if there are conditions of different physical states which gives different material phenomenon, then there is no possibility of different physical structures to regain equality.  Ã‚   . While there is a great controversy to come at the concrete conclusion about which one is correct â€Å"theory of mind,†, but it is a matter of fact that functionalism is the most popular theory among scientists as well as philosophers of today. According to this theory, all the aspects of mental state like beliefs, pains, hopes, fears, etc. depends and are divided on the bases of their activity and are characterized by the jobs they do, or in other words according to the functions that they perform. Just like computers understands the main idea behind our thoughts process in the same way our brains captures our thought processes from our mind and induces us to act accordingly. WORKS CITED Anderson, David. â€Å"Introduction to Functionalism† Consortium on Mind/Brain Science Instruction. Internet. (2006) Available:, March 5, 2008   Cofer, David. â€Å"Dualism† MindCreators.Com Internet. (2002) Available:, March 5, 2008 Cofer, David. â€Å"Functionalism† MindCreators.Com Internet. (2002) Available:, March 5, 2008 McAdoo, Oliver. â€Å"Critically discuss the idea that mental states are identical to physical states† Internet. Available:, March 5, 2008 Chance, Tom. â€Å"Mind-brain identity theory† Internet. Available:, March 5, 2008 Swamy   Sivananda, â€Å"Mind – Its Mysteries & Control†, The Divine Life Trust Society, 1994, World Wide Web Edition, 1998, A Divine Life Society Publication, Internet Available, Flanagan, Owen (1991). The Science of the Mind, 2nd edition. MIT Press. pp. 21.

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