Descartes's Theory Of The Mind-Brain Problem

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The mind-brain problem, previously called the mind body problem was initially conceptualised by Descartes following his work on the metaphysical aspects of the soul during the 17th century. Descartes described the mind and brain in his book the Meditations on First Philosophy; "But what then am I? A thing that thinks. What is that? A thing that doubts, understands, affirms, denies, wills, refuses, and which also imagines and senses.” Descartes proposed that the mind and body are separate and exist independently. This emanated the discussion of what is the ‘mind’, how does it work and how is it related to the physical brain. Dualists, such as Descartes, perspective on the mind-brain problem derived from the laws of nature and scientific investigation. …show more content…
It was believed that the pineal gland was where the mind and body interact and was the “seat of our souls”, this was due to its location; close to the ventricles. The cerebrospinal fluid inside the ventricles were thought to act as a control the body, governed by the pineal gland. This suggests that the mind and brain have a bi-directional relationship, with both being able to interact with the other. During the time the debate of the mind body problem was highly influenced by religion and advocated by theologians that humans were part angle. Despite errors in biologically locating the mind Descartes methods of dualism moved towards scientific investigation instead of religious justification. Parallelism was subsequently proposed by Leibniz, who disputed the idea of interaction occurring in a physical location of the brain. Parallelism considers the mind and brain to work in predetermined synchronies. A recent study by Haynes (2008) suggests that the brain controls the mind, not just the body, fMRI on the brain detected participants choice before they were consciously aware of their decision. This highlights that the brain and mind are separate entities but it shows that the physical matter of the brain and the non-physical mind …show more content…
Substance dualism considers the mind and brain to be made up of different properties and that the mind is for thinking but is not an attributional object. Descartes ideas of dualism supports this view. Property dualists believe mental properties of consciousness; such as thinking, are non-physical characteristics of physical substances. Fundamentally dualists agree that mind and matter are separate, this is based on the logical argument of Leibniz law; that if two things have different characteristics, they must be separate. The mind is believed to not be made up of physical matter, so mind and brain do not have the same physical properties and therefore according to Leibniz law the physical brain and the mind are therefore not the same. The non-material mind therefore cannot be publically observed, only a physical aspect of a being is definite, this questions whether other minds exist. This idea of solipsism counteracts common sense, suggesting that all other beings do not have minds. Individuals interact together and are social beings, this disregards the dualistic belief. Overall, Leibniz law is an argument for the notion that the minds and brains are different, an example of this is that what we are thinking is not physically in our brain, I am thinking of cats, but there is not a cat in my brain, so the mind and brain must be

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