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Are the Mind and Body One Or Are They Separated?

  • Category: Psychology
  • Topic: Mind
  • Pages: 6
  • Words: 2555
  • Published: 12 March 2019
  • Downloads: 25
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There are contrasting views among psychologists on whether the mind and the body are related or separated. According to behaviorists, psychology should only be concerned with response and stimuli which are observable actions. They argue that the mind which is a thought process should be ignored because it cannot be studied objectively and scientifically. In fact, the radical behaviorists actually believe that the mind is nonexistence. The biologist believes that the brain is found within the mind. This is because there is no structure called the mind. The central issue is in the brain and mind relationship is the consciousness explanation that satisfies the demand for science while at the same time promoting the opportunity for further research. This essay seeks to establish if the mind and the brain are one entity or they are fully separate.

There are two major schools of thoughts that try to decipher the mind-body problem. Dualism is the position that the mind is separate from the body (Bunge, 2014). This school of thought can be traced back to Plato, Aristotle, Nyaya, Yoga schools, Samkhya and Rene Descartes. While the substances dualists argue that the mind is a substance that exists independently, the property dualist argue that the mind is not a distinct substance but its group of substances that emerge from the brain though they can be reduced to it. Monism, on the other hand, suggests that the mind and the body are not ontologically and physiologically distinct kinds of entities.

Dualism

The dualism appreciates that there exist two fundamental identities such as the body and mind. There are two types of dualism, substance dualism and property dualism. The substance dualism suggests that the physical events causes’ mental events in the view that the neural firing causes conscious and perception experience (Penfield, 2015). This means that the nervous system activities are fully capable of creating mind- subjective experiences. Both the mental and physical are different entities, but the physical one has causal power. The inner experiences emerge from the neural events in the brains. The platonic dualism suggests that the mind is the soul which is imprisoned in the human body and differentiates the living and the dead. According to Plato, the mind is immortal but human body mortal. There is two possible location of the mind. These are internal to the body (internalism) and external to the body (externalism). Proponents of the internalism argue that the mind depends on the properties and events taking place inside it and that the neural activity is enough to produce the mind. The proponent of the externalism argues that the mind s depend on factors happening externally and that the mind is, to some extent, constituted by the surrounding World.

The physicalism school of thought opposes dualism and it holds that there is nothing over and above the human body. It holds that n nothing else exists except material and it gives matter the primary position. Hence the mind is accorded a dependent or secondary reality or even nothing at all. The evolution of science has made physicalism more prominent because of materialism. The physicalism offer answers to the mind-body problem through the substance monism, functionalism, mind-brain identity theory, behaviorism and eliminative materialism.

Monism

The biologists and behaviorists believe in materialism monism. The monism approach is the belief that the brain and the mind are, ultimately, the same thing. This Is because only one type of reality exist, the one type that we can see, touch and feel. Psychologists have conclusively decided the objective manifestation of the mind which is the behavior because we cannot directly observe the mind. The common belief is that the brain is the activity of the brain. However, according to Professor Eccles, the mind is a separate entity from the brain and cannot be reduced down to the processes of the brain cells. He argues that a conscious mental event happens even before the relevant event of the brain. The separate mind from the brain duality has been accepted over the time including in the Buddhist perspective.

Computational Theory

The computational theory of the mind suggests that the mind is and the mind is a system that processes information (Rescorla, 2015). It translates the environmental and bodily changes into a neural impulses language that represent the animal- environment relationship. According to Dr. Sheldrake, the mind is not the brain. He argues that if the normal assumption in the medical and academic field that the mind is just the brain then the mental activity is brain activity. Currently, the physicalist view is the dominant one which carries the assumption that neuroscientific explanation will eventually cover everything. Here, the kind is the collection of the conscious mental states. Acts and events and their casual influence our action.

The brain on the other side is physical is just the physical entity. The reductionists have even gone a step further to explain that each type of mental event is identical to the type of neural event. They suggest that if two brain processes are indiscernible, they will also be indiscernible in their mental properties suggesting that mental processes supervene on the neural properties. The functionalists argue that the brain states interact with each other to affect behavior. The human body which harbors the brain finds itself in a cultural and physical environment which provides constant activity and phenomena characters for their developing minds.

The brain is a biological physical organ. But it is not clear what consists of the mind which is also the mental functioning. The mind according to philosophers may mean an identity, memories and personality while in religious terms it is the awareness of God which houses the spirit. To the scientists, the mind is the generator of thoughts and ideas. After the 14th century, the mind became a generalization of the feeling, memory, volition, thoughts and gradually developed memory. According to Freud, only those events that we can recall qualify to be activities of the human mind. Te conscious mind makes up to about 10% of the minds works. It can direct sometimes focus and also imagine what is not real.

The conscious mind perceives an event and triggers a reaction to it then stores the information into the subconscious or unconscious part of the mind depending on the importance (Penfield, 2015). Then there is the subconscious mind. This is the storage point of information that needs to be recalled quickly, for example, a name of the person you just met or your telephone number. It also stores information that you use daily such as the habits, feeling and behavior patterns. Lastly, we have the unconscious mind. According to Freud, this is where the past experiences and memories reside. This includes those thoughts that have been consciously forgotten and those that which are no longer important to us and also the memories that have suppressed through trauma. Our habits, beliefs and behaviors are formed from these memories and experiences.

The brain uses chemicals in the neurons to communicate with each other. The feelings and the emotions that people experience are as a result of the chemical changes in the brain. The basic component of the brain is the neurons and there are about 100 billion of them in the brain cells. The numerous tiny neurons communicate with each other through small spaces. These small spaces are known as Synapses. One neuron sends releases its chemical message when changes in action. The chemical is received by a receptor which is a special receiving area in the neuron. The receptor site may either a signal which which which prompts that neuron to carry the message to other neuron or a stop signal which prevents the message from being carried forward. The brain cells are able to communicate with each other and also function properly through the use of the brain chemical known as a neurotransmitter. The transfer of signals between cells is known as a synaptic connection.

Recently there has development in the neuroscience such that we can see the thoughts play out in the brain using magnetic imaging devices. It then follows that if you can see thoughts go into the brain and cause neural activities, then all the thought goes in the brain. The thoughts are the conscious thinking which we can call the mind. This theory points out to epiphenomenalism which suggests that consciousness in the effect of the neural events in the brain. Mind altering drugs can be used in anesthetics to rendering you unconscious by altering the mind. The fact that you can stop consciousness in the by stopping the neuron activity in the brain shows that the brain set course which the mind follows. This shows that existence of the mind is not separate from the brain.

According to the Identity theory, which among the most popular theory of mind-brain relationship, the mind is what the brain does (Wilkinson, 2014). This means the mind is what can be described as the activity of the brain. However since there is only one sort of matter and the mind is the physical phenomenon, we can conclusively state that, according to this theory, the mind and the brain is the same thing. Conclusively state that the mind is the brain accord to this theory. The dual aspect theories try to explain that there is only one substance with two properties or aspects. It suggests that the brain processes and the mental phenomena same thing which is viewed differently in the mental frameworks or descriptive levels (Bunge, 2014). The identity theory suggests that the mental and neural events are in fact the same thing. There is a difference in the conscious mental event, neuron responding to the electrical signal and the physical neuron firing. Hence the mental event perhaps forms an integral part of the physical events and hence we can get the explanation that thinking mental vents are the same as thinking about our neural events.

The Memory

The mind has various functions including memory. One of the main processes of the memory is recall besides encoding and storage. Recall is the process by which the memory retrieves information from the past. The environment reinstatement effect is the most researched area of the environment context-dependent memory. This scenario occurs when a certain environment context acts as a cue for memory. This memory is believed to be forgotten and only remembered when the individual revisits the environment. The reinstatement effect can be categorized into long-term and short-term effects. These effects increase with the duration between the initial encoding and retrieval.

The Environmental context-dependent memory effects have a positive correlation with the length of time (Anderson & Bower 2014). This correlation explains why an individual experiences a flood of thoughts after returning to a previous area of residence after a long period of absence. If individual moves to a new area of residence, the new environment will interfere with their old memories hence forgetting. However, after returning to this environment, the old memories are reactivated. For instance, if solders return to old battlefield their memory play back the wartime memories. The short-term reinstatement effects are what we experience daily. For example, going to get something from the kitchen and then forgetting. If you go back to the place, you will most likely remember what you wanted.

The psychological state can be used as a state-dependent recall explanation. The internal states act a contextual cue in the absence of any other cues. For example, people in drug state during the encoding period may use this state for retrieval. Similarly, in motivation state, recall is biased toward the information that matched participants own motivational state. Recency effect is a presentational effect order occurs when more recent information is remembered and has greater weight judgment making as opposed information presented earlier. Researches investigate how the traits have an impact on the impressions when they are sequentially presented. For instance, a person described with positive traits followed by the negative traits is evaluated by the negative traits while a person who is described with the same traits starting with the negative ones then the positive traits are evaluated with the positive traits.

Fundamental differences in Stimuli

The brain processes audition and vision sensory signal quite similarly although there is a distinction between visual and auditory stimuli. In the vision, the protons move to the brain via the optic fiber after hitting the retina. In audio, the sound travels to the brain through the thalamus from the ear. Humans tend to rely more on the visual processing because vision cues tend to affect auditory processing. The brain binds these two stimuli easily and naturally. Recent researches have shown the vision can change the perception of our body directly. Similarly, the auditory reaction time is greater the visual reaction time. However, there is no clear understanding of where the visual and auditory motion system interacts. Studies have shown that comparison and integration of the auditory and visual modalities involve the specific networks of both unimodal and polymodal cortical areas.

Experience and imagined stimuli have been shown to exhibit different features. Imagined and experienced memories may have similar control process; however, the types of contents of the memory differ (Varela, Thompson & Rosch 2017). Imagined events evens leads larger negatives shifts over the left frontal regions during the hold in mind period than the experienced events. The memories of the experienced events contain knowledge of the sensory perceptual epidemic knowledge which is stored in the occipital networks while the imagined events memories contain generic imagery generated from the frontal networks.

Mental representation is the basic concept of the theory of mind computation which constitutes the cognitive process and states through transformation occurrence and storage of structures bearing information (Smith & Kosslyn 2013). Mental represents also happens to be an initial instance of the cognitive science theoretical constructs. It may be even broadly being viewed as a mental object which contains semantic properties hence it should not be just understood in computation terms. The representation theory of mind understands mental processes such as thinking, imagining and reasoning. Mental representation has two types of relationships, casual role and the other is the relationship between the cognitive structure and experience which looks into how stimulations enter and contribute to the system of knowledge and belief formation. The casual role of the mental representation which deals with how the action is affected by the mind.

Mental representation is a hypothetical internal cognitive symbol that represents external reality. It is mental imagery of thing which is not present in the senses. It allows representations of things that have never been experienced or which do not actually exist for example traveling to a place you’ve never been before. It allows us to access external experience.

Interactionism suggests that mind affects the body and sometimes the vice versa happens. It is one f the challenges to both the physicalism and dualism. The physicalism argues that the consciousness can be reduced to matter while the dualists argue that the mind that acts upon the matter. The neuroscientist has challenged both the dualisms and physicalism hence opening a greater need to go beyond them.

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