Mind and body relationship problems

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mind and body relationship problems

It reveals that the relationship between artistic materials and art experience faces some of the same serious problems faced by the mind/body problem. Just as. The Mind-Body problem is based on a mistaken and non-empirical premise: that the world is “fundamentally physical.” Because every school of. The inherent challenges of this position are clearly seen in psychology's . This holistic conceptualization of the mind–body relationship is also.

Biologists argue that the brain will ultimately be found to be the mind. The brain with its structures, cells and neural connections will with scientific research eventually identify the mind. Since both behaviorists and biologists believe that only one type of reality exists, those that we can see, feel and touch; there approach is known as monism. Monism is the belief that ultimately the mind and the brain are the same thing.

The behaviorist and biological approaches believe in materialism monism. However biologists and behaviorists cannot account for the phenomenon hypnosis. Hilgard and Orne have studied this. They placed participants in a hypnotic trance and through unconscious hypnotic suggestion told the participants they would be touched with a "red hot" piece of metal when they were actually touched with a pencil.

The participants in a deep trance had a skin reaction water blisters just as if they had been touched with burning metal.

Mind Body Debate

Similar results have been found on patients given hypnosis to control pain. This contradicts the monism approach, as the body should not react to unconscious suggestions in this way. This study supports the idea of dualism, the view that the mind and body function separately. In the same way humanists like Carl Rogers would also dispute materialism monism. They believe that subjective experiences are the only way to study human behavior. Humanists are not denying the real world exists rather they believe it is each persons unique subjective approach to defining reality that is important.

In the area of mental illness a Schizophrenic might not define their actions as ill, rather they would believe they had insight into some occurrence that no one else had. This is why humanists believe the study of how each person views themselves is essential.

mind and body relationship problems

However the problem of the relationship between consciousness and reality from a subjective view has problems. On the other hand, monists can see the mind-body distinction as pure physicalism, since information embodied in matter corresponds to a mere reorganization of the matter.

This was Aristotle's more practical view. For him, Plato's Ideas were mere abstractions generalized from many existent particulars.

Mind-Body Problem

Would not the interaction between the two have to partake somehow of the character of both? Descartes famously identified the tiny pineal gland as the point of contact between mind and body.

Descartes made the mind the locus of freedom. For him, the body is a mechanical system of tiny fibres causing movements in the brain the afferent sensationswhich then can pull on other fibres to activate the muscles the efferent nerve impulses. This is the basis of stimulus and response theory in modern physiology reflexology. The popular idea of animals as machines included the notion that man too is a machine - the body obeys strictly deterministic causal laws - but that man has a soul or spirit that is exempt from determinism and thus from what is known today as "causal closure.

mind and body relationship problems

The Problem of Mental Causation Philosophers who accept the idea that all laws of nature are deterministic and that the world is causally closed still cannot understand how an immaterial mind can be the cause of an action. On this view, every physical event is reducible to the microscopic motions of physical particles.

The laws of biology are reducible to those of physics and chemistry. The mind is reducible to the brain, with no remainder. For these philosophers of mind, essentially no progress has been made on the problem of mental causation since Descartes. Any additional mental cause would be extraneous, according to Jaegwon Kim.

Since the early twentieth century, quantum mechanics adds the possibility that some processes are indeterministic, but random quantum-mechanical events have generally been thought to be unhelpful by philosophers of mind. Adding indeterminism to mental events apparently would only make our actions random and our desires the product of pure chance. If our willed actions are not determined by anything, they say, we are neither morally responsible nor truly free. Whether mental events are reducible to physical events, or whether mental events can be physical events without such a reduction, the interposition of indeterministic quantum processes apparently adds no explanatory power.

And of course if mental events are epiphenomenal, they are not causally related to bodily actions. Epiphenomenal access to quantum physics would not help. Mental causation is a special case of the more general problem of downward causationfor example the downward control of the motions of a cell's atoms and molecules by supervening biological macromolecules. On the other hand, the body is divisible because he cannot think of a body except as having parts.

Hence, if mind and body had the same nature, it would be a nature both with and without parts. Yet such a thing is unintelligible: Notice that, as with the first version, mind and body are here being defined as opposites. This implies that divisible body can be understood without indivisible mind and vice versa. Accordingly each can be understood as existing all by itself: However, unlike the first version, Descartes does not invoke the doctrine of clear and distinct ideas to justify his premises.

But if removed from this apparatus, it is possible that Descartes is mistaken about the indivisibility of the mind, because the possibility of the mind requiring a brain to exist would still be viable.

mind and body relationship problems

This would mean that, since extension is part of the nature of mind, it would, being an extended thing, be composed of parts and, therefore, it would be divisible. As a result, Descartes could not legitimately reach the conclusion that mind and body are completely different. This would also mean that the further, implicit conclusion that mind and body are really distinct could not be reached either. The Mind-Body Problem The real distinction of mind and body based on their completely diverse natures is the root of the famous mind-body problem: Their concern arises from the claim at the heart of the real distinction argument that mind and body are completely different or opposite things.

The complete diversity of their respective natures has serious consequences for the kinds of modes each can possess. It makes no sense to ascribe such modes to entirely extended, non-thinking things like stones, and therefore, only minds can have these kinds of modes.

Conversely, it makes no sense to ascribe modes of size, shape, quantity and motion to non-extended, thinking things. For example, the concept of an unextended shape is unintelligible. Therefore, a mind cannot be understood to be shaped or in motion, nor can a body understand or sense anything.

The arm moving upward is the effect while the choice to raise it is the cause. The crux of their concern was that in order for one thing to cause motion in another, they must come into contact with one another as, for example, in the game of pool the cue ball must be in motion and come into contact with the eight-ball in order for the latter to be set in motion.

Accordingly, the mind does not have a surface that can come into contact with the body and cause it to move. So, it seems that if mind and body are completely different, there is no intelligible explanation of voluntary bodily movement. Again, since the mind is incapable of having motion and a surface, no intelligible explanation of sensations seems possible either.

Therefore, the completely different natures of mind and body seem to render their causal interaction impossible. The consequences of this problem are very serious for Descartes, because it undermines his claim to have a clear and distinct understanding of the mind without the body. For humans do have sensations and voluntarily move some of their bodily limbs and, if Gassendi and Elizabeth are correct, this requires a surface and contact.

Since the mind must have a surface and a capacity for motion, the mind must also be extended and, therefore, mind and body are not completely different. Hence, Descartes has not adequately established that mind and body are two really distinct substances. His response to Gassendi is a telling example: These questions presuppose amongst other things an explanation of the union between the soul and the body, which I have not yet dealt with at all.

But I will say, for your benefit at least, that the whole problem contained in such questions arises simply from a supposition that is false and cannot in any way be proved, namely that, if the soul and the body are two substances whose nature is different, this prevents them from being able to act on each other AT VII First, Descartes contends that a response to this question presupposes an explanation of the union between the mind or soul and the body.

Second, Descartes claims that the question itself stems from the false presupposition that two substances with completely different natures cannot act on each other. Further examination of these two points will occur in reverse order. The relevant portion of this discussion is when Descartes argues that the less real cannot cause something that is more real, because the less real does not have enough reality to bring about something more real than itself.

This principle applies on the general level of substances and modes. So, on this principle, a mode cannot cause the existence of a substance since modes are less real than finite substances.

Similarly, a created, finite substance cannot cause the existence of an infinite substance. But a finite substance can cause the existence of another finite substance or a mode since modes are less real than substances.

More will be said about this below. The first presupposition concerns an explanation of how the mind is united with the body. These texts indicate that Descartes did not maintain that voluntary bodily movements and sensation arise because of the causal interaction of mind and body by contact and motion.

Rather, he maintains a version of the form-matter theory of soul-body union endorsed by some of his scholastic-Aristotelian predecessors and contemporaries.

Although a close analysis of the texts in question cannot be conducted here, a brief summary of how this theory works for Descartes can be provided.

Before providing this summary, however, it is important to disclaim that this scholastic-Aristotelian interpretation is a minority position amongst Descartes scholars.

Other philosophers considered the mind-body problem to be insurmountable, thereby denying their real distinction: Indeed, this traditional, mechanistic interpretation of Descartes is so deeply ingrained in the minds of philosophers today, that most do not even bother to argue for it.

However, recall that Descartes rejects substantial forms because of their final causal component. Since the mind is an entirely mental thing, these arguments just do not apply to it.

The mind-body relationship in psychotherapy: grounded cognition as an explanatory framework

Indeed, as Paul Hoffman noted: Descartes really rejects the attempt to use the human soul as a model for explanations in the entirely physical world. This makes it possible that Descartes considered the human mind to be the only substantial form.

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Yet, if the soul is recognized as merely a substantial form, while other such forms consist in the configuration and motion of parts, this very privileged status it has compared with other forms shows that its nature is quite different from theirs AT III Although other passages do not make this claim explicitly, they do imply in some sense that the mind is a substantial form.

This was a point of some controversy amongst the scholastics themselves. While others, maintaining a basically Scotistic position, argued that some other form besides the human soul is the form of the body. Rather it makes a body with the potential for union with the human soul. The soul then actualizes this potential resulting in a complete human being.

If Descartes did hold a fundamentally scholastic theory of mind-body union, then is it more Thomistic or Scotistic? Since intellect and will are the only faculties of the mind, it does not have the faculty for organizing matter for being a human body. Although Descartes argues that bodies, in the general sense, are constituted by extension, he also maintains that species of bodies are determined by the configuration and motion of their parts.

Recall that substantial forms organize matter for the purpose of being a species of thing. The purpose of a human body endowed with only the form of corporeity is union with the soul. Hence, the organization of matter into a human body is an effect that is explained by the final cause or purpose of being disposed for union. Hence, on this account, Descartes gets what he needs, namely, Descartes gets a body properly configured for potential union with the mind, but without recourse to the scholastic notion of substantial forms with their final causal component.

Another feature of this basically Scotistic position is that the soul and the body were considered incomplete substances themselves, while their union results in one, complete substance.