Mind and Body Paper

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The interaction of mind and consciousness with the body, and whether they are separate or not has been the subject of much discussion and debate between philosophers since antiquity. This paper shall look at how dualists, materialists and idealists view the realm of mind and consciousness and how the realm of mind and consciousness relate to the physical body. Additionally, the concept of an independent mind that transcends physical functions of the body shall be discussed along with the author's views on this concept. The argument of what realm the mind and consciousness reside in, and how they interact is a question brought to us from antiquity. Certainly, this question is one of philosophy's oldest, possibly dating back to when humans began to wonder about their place in the world. In the modern world, however, three main views exist on this realm of the mind and consciousness and their interactions – dualism, materialism, and idealism. This classification is, however, in the simplest terms and in fact, the variety of theories which exist are far more elaborate (Goodwin, 2005; Young, 2005) and beyond the scope of this paper. Thus, in the interest of space and time only these three broad classifications will be discussed in brief.

Dualists postulate that the mind and consciousness are parallel to the body in that they coexist and work together, often relating the body to a machine that the mind and consciousness manipulate and control. Many dualist theories invoke a divine influence as the interaction, or catalyst, between consciousness and the body, although this is not a universal held dualist belief (Young, 2005).

Materialist, on the other hand, postulate that the mind and consciousness are simply an ordinary physico-chemical process; the interaction of chemicals and process of the brain create the realm of consciousness. This theory and the theories that descend from this over-simplified explanation place the realm of the mind and consciousness within...
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