Dualism: Relationship Between Mind And Mind

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We process with our brains and we feel with our minds. As a result, the relationship between brain and mind is a strange one. In some cases, the two words can be used interchangeably and in others they lose this synonymatic quality. The brain is described in terms of the physical: it has properties like weight and mass. In contrast, the mind is described in terms of the mental: it has properties like accessibility through introspection and pattern recognition. Philosophers disagree on the exact relation between these two entities. One school of thought, dualism, suggests that the mind and body are separate. Another, called physicalism, dictates that the two are essentially the same only observed differently. In this essay, I will use Leibniz’s …show more content…
A mental state can be expressed as a thought, belief, or feeling, while a brain state is basically a pattern of neurons firing. These two states do not appear to share the same properties. Again, one is mental and the other is physical. The two states are related; the pattern of neurons firing results in a thought, belief, or feeling being processed, however just because one thing results in another thing does not mean they are identical. Causation is not equal to identity.
Another apparent difference between mental states and brain states is the idea that mental states can be accessed through introspection, the act of examining one’s own mental and emotional processes (Merriam-Webster). This serves as the basis for my argument in support of dualism which can be illustrated in the following
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Physicalism is contingent on the idea that science is constantly evolving and as a result our understanding of the universe is constantly increasing. From the physicalist point of view, a brain state and a mental state are the same thing, they are just presented differently. Consider the following case: my father is a firefighter, but my friends do not know that. One day, I tell them a story about my father. The next day, I tell them a story about a firefighter on the job. Unless I specifically mention that said firefighter is my father, they are unlikely to assume the two men are the same person. Language plays a large role in this case. The mode of presentation of a condition affects the way the condition is perceived. Since the English language does not equate father and firefighter, the two are not seen as equal. However, there is no reason that a male firefighter could not be a father or that someone’s father could not be a firefighter. Philosopher U.T. Place refers to these distinctions as “scientific technicalities” (Place). When relating mental states to brain states, scientific technicalities prevent them from being identical as they are described with modes of presentations that cannot clearly be observed as identical. In applying this concept to the dualist argument, we can see that the current definition of introspection prevents it from being viewed as a property of a brain state.

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