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Essay On Mind/Body Problem

Essay on The Mind/Body Problem, Seen Through a Crisis

2040 Words9 Pages

The Mind-Body Problem seen through a Crisis The issue of the origins of consciousness has been a problem that has philosophers and scientists alike, puzzled for years. Is it a matter of science? Can it be explained through neurobiological processes or is it just something that simply cannot be reduced to words? Rene Descartes had struggled with this issue centuries ago, trying to explain this problem through his idea of substance dualism. This idea states that the mind and body are of two separate worlds, the physical world and the mental world. From this sprouts the mind-body problem, the connection between mental phenomena and the physical world on which the mind depends. And century’s later, philosopher Edmund Husserl tries to tackle…show more content…

The way that humanistic disciplines work demonstrates how important our history and evolution has impacted our spiritual sense. Because of our history, cultures have evolved and allowed a more open sense of subjectivity, or a sense of self. On the other hand, natural sciences are more empirical in nature and permit a more infinite possibility. And although the natural sciences, such as math and physics, gives a mathematical-exact answer, Husserl states that “only natural science can abstract with unbroken consistency from everything spiritual and investigate nature purely as nature” (Husserl 271). From this, Husserl says that the natural sciences can only reach a certain point of explanation. It seems as though the concrete sciences can only rationalize so much. Here lies the problem, the humanistic sciences approaches the world through a more spiritual aspect, while the natural sciences focus specifically on nature. The natural sciences contain a more objective approach of viewing the world, while the humanistic discipline acknowledges, “…what is spiritual, to a self-enclosed, purely spiritually coherent “world”…” (Husserl 271). When applying this concept of a “crisis” to the real life, we see that there lies a crisis in the neuroscience of consciousness. Neuroscience only

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The Mind-Body Problem Essay

1204 Words5 Pages

With the number of brain injury cases observed and the continuous advances in neuroscience, this has proven to be strong evidence in supporting materialism. By defining what Cartesian dualists and materialists mean by the ‘brain’, ‘mind’, ‘body’ and ‘soul’, an argument on behalf of Cartesians dualists will be reached, that responds to evidence concerning brain injuries with the claims that the brain is only ‘an instrument of the soul’. This will lead to the conclusion that there is stronger contemporary support for materialism due to neuroscience and that the Cartesian dualism argument as it is, may be wrong. However future neuroscience discoveries could continue to claim significant parts of both theories as wrong, meaning materialism as…show more content…

Looking throughout history, the brain has not always been associated with thought; even today we may associate such feelings as pain from the part of our body in which we were hurt, not as a mental state inside our brain. However when scientists observed brain injury patients they realised that thinking could take place in the brain. One famous example is Gage’s Case ; the calm railroad worker after a freak accident, that damaged the frontal lobes of his brain, turned into an aggressive person who became unrecognisable to his friends and family. Neuroscientists have now discovered with more cases similar to Gage’s that damage to specific regions of the brain can severely affect a person’s mental abilities or personality.

Due to these discoveries, many have now considered this as strong evidence for the opposing theory to dualism – materialism which believes that “mental states are brain states”. Materialists accept the notion that the brain is only a lump of neutrons and that our dreams, beliefs and desires can be reduced to the “firing of c-fibres”. Paul Churchland, an advocate for the brain injury argument for materialism writes:

“[I]n sum, the neuroscientist can tell us a great deal about the brain about its constitution and the physical laws that govern it; he can already explain much of our behaviour in terms of the physical, chemical and electrical properties of the brain...”
Modern-day Cartesian dualists can respond to the materialist’s

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