The Mind/Body Problem - Discussion

Topics: Mind, Philosophy of mind, Psychology Pages: 3 (904 words) Published: April 29, 2008
First of, what is the ‘Mind/Body problem’?The mind/body problem, in one of its aspects, concerns the relation between the two. Some people have thought that the mind and body are one and the same, the mind being just one aspect of the body and located in or identical to the brain. On the other hand, some consider that they must be separate, either wholly or significantly, with the mind not being equivalent to the brain. Descartes is, perhaps, the philosopher that most people reference when discussing the mind-body problem. For Descartes, there are two substances: Mind and Matter. Each substance has a defining attribute. In the case of Mind, the defining attribute is Thought. In the case of Matter, the defining attribute is spatial Extension. It is important to note that for Descartes, substances can have nothing in common, otherwise they would not be fundamentally different things. The mind-body problem arises out of this view of substances, because if mind and body have nothing in common, then in what way can they be said to interact? This is known as the problem of interaction.

v Interactionism holds that the mind can influence the body and the body can influence the mind and it is in this way that they are united. Descartes was an interactionist. v Epiphenomenalism is the view that mental activities are by-products of the physical. They therefore avoid the difficulty of how a non-physical thing could influence a physical one. v The double aspect theory derives from the philosopher Spinoza and holds that there is only one substance and that the mind and the body are both aspects of it. It explains how the causes of our actions can be simultaneously mental and physical thus avoiding analysing the mental in terms of the physical or the physical in terms of the mental. v Parallelism contends that the mind and body never influence one another, but nevertheless progress along parallel paths as though they interact. Leibniz maintained that God arranged things in...
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