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  1. Brain and Mind Sciences (MSc)
  4. Distinguishing Brain From Mind - The Atlantic

But if the mind is just a by product of brain functioning, it cannot be an independent causative agent, by definition. Perhaps there is a way out of this dilemma. The mind could be described as the entire set of the activities of the brain. We are not conscious of most of these activities, but perhaps they give rise to conscious thought when part of the brain is focused inwardly on the various functions of the brain.

Thus our con scious mental life is the brain observing itself to the extent that it can while it carries out its complex decision-making functions. The mind is not just the part of the brain doing the observing — the conscious part — but rather the whole brain, functioning in the body. Rather, conscious thought is only the observing part of the mind.

Then we can see our whole organism as being the proper causative agent acting in the world. Humans act on intentions. So mental operations may very well have neurobiological mechanisms undergirding them, and yet still the mind is non-corporeal. We should not identify the mechanisms of the brain with the mental operations these mechanisms subserve.

The argument from irreducibility for the existence of a non-corporeal mind seems to remain viable: even supposing that all mental events are causally correlated to brain events, such a correlation would not mean a reduction of mental events to brain events. Can you think of any? A good example would be the understanding. If not, a non-corporeal mind is still necessary.

If people act intentionally upon motivations, other people can observe these actions and thereby infer the existence of other acting, intentional minds. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence. Therefore one can infer the existence of intellectual minds animating the bodies. The brain, in that case, is a time-ordered sequence of events, like everything physical.

A human mind is a time-ordered series of momentary experiences. This very human series is dependent upon the more elaborate time sequence of its host brain. This equation is at the heart of quantum physics. It means that energy is proportional to quantum frequency. Its reciprocal is wavelength. Frequency and wavelength can thus be obtained from time sequence patterns without reliance on either waves or particles. Space-time is thus made of temporally-defined quanta, as is everythingin this theory.


A 4-D time lattice of events can be constructed, which corresponds to the space-time continuum. As well as providing a superior foundation for physics, this eventism solves the mind-body problem. Space instead becomes a purely phenomenal entity, like color. We are led abruptly, by this way of understanding physics, to a panpsychic view of the world. The brain is thus a mental phenomenon.

I know I have a mind —but I am not sure that I have a body; or sure of the physical world at all, actually. Well, my mind exists, but do other minds exist? I seem to come into contact with other beings with minds constantly, but do they exist like mine? Either a these minds are independent minds, b they are figments of my mind, or c they are figments of another mind God?

But a and c have the same relevant implication, because both assert that I am not alone and that other minds exist. And it seems to me that my own mind cannot be the source of other minds because these other minds frequently act in ways I cannot predict or comprehend. Therefore other minds exist independently of my own and of each other. These minds are distinct from each other. This means they cannot overlap, for then they would not be distinct.

Brain and Mind Sciences (MSc)

Now, we can say that the apparent external world must either be a physical, b mental with my own mind as the source, or c mental with another mind as the source God? It is the minds of addicts that contain the stories of how addiction happens, why they continue to use, and, if they decide to stop, how they manage.

The answers can't be divined from an examination of his brain, no matter how sophisticated the probe. It is only natural that advances in knowledge about the brain make us think more mechanistically about ourselves. But in one venue, in particular - the courtroom - this bias can be a prescription for confusion. My client's brain made him do it. The problem with these claims is that, with rare exception, neuroscientists cannot yet translate aberrant brain functions into the legal requirements for criminal responsibility -- intent, rational capacity and self-control.

What we know about many criminals is that they did not control themselves. That is very different from being unable to do so. To date, brain science cannot allow us to distinguish between these alternatives. What's more, even abnormal-looking brains, have owners who are otherwise quite normal.

David Eagleman of the Baylor College of Medicine's Initiative on Neuroscience and Law, hopes that "we may someday find that many types of bad behavior have a basic biological explanation [and] eventually think about bad decision making in the same way we think about any physical process, such as diabetes or lung disease. But is this the correct conclusion to draw from neuroscience? If every troublesome behavior is eventually traced to correlates of brain activity that we can detect and visualize, will we be able to excuse it on a don't-blame-me-blame my-brain theory?

Will no one ever be judged responsible? Eagleman's way of thinking represents what law professor Stephen Morse calls the "psycho-legal error," our powerful temptation to equate cause with excuse. Morse notes that the law excuses criminal behavior only when a causal factor produces an impairment so severe that it deprives the defendant of his or her rationality.

Bad genes, bad parents, or even bad stars are not an excuse. Finally, what are the implications of brain science for morality?


Psychological patterns can be understood as low cost ways of information processing. Psychology differs from the other social sciences e. Historically, psychology differed from biology and neuroscience in that it was primarily concerned with mind rather than brain. Modern psychological science incorporates physiological and neurological processes into its conceptions of perception , cognition , behaviour, and mental disorders.

By analogy with the health of the body, one can speak metaphorically of a state of health of the mind, or mental health. Merriam-Webster defines mental health as "A state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined.


In general, most experts agree that "mental health" and " mental disorder " are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health. One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person functions.

Feeling capable and competent; being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintaining satisfying relationships, and leading an independent life; and being able to "bounce back," or recover from difficult situations, are all signs of mental health. Psychotherapy is an interpersonal , relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid clients in problems of living.

This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being and reducing subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue , communication and behavior change and that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships such as in a family. Most forms of psychotherapy use only spoken conversation , though some also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, art , drama , narrative story, or therapeutic touch.

Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client s. Purposeful, theoretically based psychotherapy began in the 19th century with psychoanalysis ; since then, scores of other approaches have been developed and continue to be created.

Animal cognition , or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology , but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology , behavioral ecology , and evolutionary psychology. Much of what used to be considered under the title of "animal intelligence" is now thought of under this heading. Animal language acquisition , attempting to discern or understand the degree to which animal cognition can be revealed by linguistics -related study, has been controversial among cognitive linguists.

In Alan M.

Distinguishing Brain From Mind - The Atlantic

Turing published "Computing machinery and intelligence" in Mind , in which he proposed that machines could be tested for intelligence using questions and answers. This process is now named the Turing Test. The term Artificial Intelligence AI was first used by John McCarthy who considered it to mean "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines".

AI is studied in overlapping fields of computer science , psychology , neuroscience and engineering , dealing with intelligent behavior , learning and adaptation and usually developed using customized machines or computers. Research in AI is concerned with producing machines to automate tasks requiring intelligent behavior. Examples include control , planning and scheduling , the ability to answer diagnostic and consumer questions, handwriting , natural language , speech and facial recognition.

As such, the study of AI has also become an engineering discipline, focused on providing solutions to real life problems, knowledge mining , software applications, strategy games like computer chess and other video games. One of the biggest limitations of AI is in the domain of actual machine comprehension. Consequentially natural language understanding and connectionism where behavior of neural networks is investigated are areas of active research and development.

The debate about the nature of the mind is relevant to the development of artificial intelligence. If the mind is indeed a thing separate from or higher than the functioning of the brain, then hypothetically it would be much more difficult to recreate within a machine, if it were possible at all. If, on the other hand, the mind is no more than the aggregated functions of the brain, then it will be possible to create a machine with a recognisable mind though possibly only with computers much different from today's , by simple virtue of the fact that such a machine already exists in the form of the human brain.

Many religions associate spiritual qualities to the human mind. These are often tightly connected to their mythology and ideas of afterlife. The Indian philosopher -sage Sri Aurobindo attempted to unite the Eastern and Western psychological traditions with his integral psychology , as have many philosophers and New religious movements. Judaism teaches that "moach shalit al halev", the mind rules the heart. Humans can approach the Divine intellectually, through learning and behaving according to the Divine Will as enclothed in the Torah, and use that deep logical understanding to elicit and guide emotional arousal during prayer.

Christianity has tended to see the mind as distinct from the soul Greek nous and sometimes further distinguished from the spirit. Western esoteric traditions sometimes refer to a mental body that exists on a plane other than the physical. Hinduism 's various philosophical schools have debated whether the human soul Sanskrit atman is distinct from, or identical to, Brahman , the divine reality. Taoism sees the human being as contiguous with natural forces, and the mind as not separate from the body.

Confucianism sees the mind, like the body, as inherently perfectible.

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Buddhist teachings explain the moment-to-moment manifestation of the mind-stream. The arising and passing of these aggregates in the present moment is described as being influenced by five causal laws: biological laws, psychological laws, physical laws, volitional laws, and universal laws.

According to Buddhist philosopher Dharmakirti , the mind has two fundamental qualities: "clarity and cognizes". If something is not those two qualities, it cannot validly be called mind. You cannot have a mind — whose function is to cognize an object — existing without cognizing an object. Mind, in Buddhism, is also described as being "space-like" and "illusion-like".

Mind is space-like in the sense that it is not physically obstructive. It has no qualities which would prevent it from existing. In Mahayana Buddhism, mind is illusion-like in the sense that it is empty of inherent existence. This does not mean it does not exist, it means that it exists in a manner that is counter to our ordinary way of misperceiving how phenomena exist, according to Buddhism.

When the mind is itself cognized properly, without misperceiving its mode of existence, it appears to exist like an illusion. There is a big difference however between being "space and illusion" and being "space-like" and "illusion-like". Mind is not composed of space, it just shares some descriptive similarities to space. Mind is not an illusion, it just shares some descriptive qualities with illusions. Buddhism posits that there is no inherent, unchanging identity Inherent I, Inherent Me or phenomena Ultimate self, inherent self, Atman, Soul, Self-essence, Jiva, Ishvara, humanness essence, etc.

In other words, human beings consist of merely a body and a mind, and nothing extra. Within the body there is no part or set of parts which is — by itself or themselves — the person. Similarly, within the mind there is no part or set of parts which are themselves "the person". A human being merely consists of five aggregates, or skandhas and nothing else. In the same way, "mind" is what can be validly conceptually labelled onto our mere experience of clarity and knowing. There is something separate and apart from clarity and knowing which is "Awareness", in Buddhism. There is also not "objects out there, mind in here, and experience somewhere in-between".

There is a third thing called "awareness" which exists being aware of the contents of mind and what mind cognizes. There are five senses arising of mere experience: shapes, colors, the components of smell, components of taste, components of sound, components of touch and mind as the sixth institution; this means, expressly, that there can be a third thing called "awareness" and a third thing called "experiencer who is aware of the experience".

This awareness is deeply related to "no-self" because it does not judge the experience with craving or aversion. Clearly, the experience arises and is known by mind, but there is a third thing calls Sati what is the "real experiencer of the experience" that sits apart from the experience and which can be aware of the experience in 4 levels.

Maha Sathipatthana Sutta. To be aware of these four levels one needs to cultivate equanimity toward Craving and Aversion. This is Called Vipassana which is different from the way of reacting with Craving and Aversion. This is the state of being aware and equanimous to the complete experience of here and now. This is the way of Buddhism, with regards to mind and the ultimate nature of minds and persons. Due to the mind—body problem , a lot of interest and debate surrounds the question of what happens to one's conscious mind as one's body dies.

During brain death all brain function permanently ceases. According to some neuroscientific views which see these processes as the physical basis of mental phenomena, the mind fails to survive brain death and ceases to exist. This permanent loss of consciousness after death is sometimes called " eternal oblivion ". The belief that some spiritual or incorporeal component soul exists and that it is preserved after death is described by the term " afterlife ". Parapsychology is a study of certain types of paranormal phenomena , or of phenomena which appear to be paranormal but it does not have any scientific basis [68] for instance precognition , telekinesis and telepathy.

Rhine tried to popularize "parapsychology" using fraudulent techniques as a replacement for the earlier term "psychical research", during a shift in methodologies which brought experimental methods to the study of psychic phenomena. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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