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Thread: A Philosophy Thread: The Mind

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    Default A Philosophy Thread: The Mind

    I've been involved in philosophy for years, never as a formal student, but as a member of several philosophy associations, clubs and groups, including one mentioned by akuma as part of the new world order conspiracies, spooooky: the theosophical society. I've also run one with my students: most popular of all of my school's student clubs.

    I figured the mind is a good topic. Let's use the Socratic method, questions posed, to specific members or to everyone... I'll start:

    Is the mind the brain?
    Last edited by OGKnickfan; Jan 31, 2009 at 04:42.

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    I personally believe that a person's mind is created and molded by experiences they encountered. The brain is like a computer that takes information and processes it. It does not take in emotions or feelings into account, the way the mind does. More cold-blooded than the mind. That's why to me the mind is not the brain.

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    Originally Posted by SLY1984
    I personally believe that a person's mind is created and molded by experiences they encountered. The brain is like a computer that takes information and processes it. It does not take in emotions or feelings into account, the way the mind does. More cold-blooded than the mind. That's why to me the mind is not the brain.
    I agree 100%

    I think the mind is one of many factors(brain size, its development, complexity being some others) that separates us from animals. Where animals relay on instincts and learned behavior we hve a mind that gives us feelings, emotions and logic. I also think that even so the mind and the brain are 2 different things they work together as one.

    This should be a nice read.

    The Brain
    Physiology and Functions


    The brain weighs approximately 1.3 kg and is surrounded by warm shock-absorbing fluid called the cerebrospinal fluid. It is contained in cranium, which consists of three layers of membranes, also referred to as meninges, to protect the brain. First, it is covered by the most thickest later called the dura mater, the second layer is called archnoid membrane and the finally the thinnest and the most delicate layer is called the pia mater.
    The brain is a part of the Central Nervous System, which also includes the spinal cord. The Peripheral Nervous System consists of 12 cranial nerves such as Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens, Facial, Vestibulocochlear, Glossopharyngeal, Vagus, Accessory and Hypoglossal cranial nerves. The peripheral nervous system also consists of various nerves extending from the spinal cord to the rest of the body.
    The brain is composed of three distinct parts: Cerebrum, Cerebellum and Brainstem. Cerebrum is a network of neurons that consists of billions of various neurons cells as well as glial cells. Cerebellum is also composed of network of neurons, but is different in function-wise. Brainstem contains fibre tracts that connects the cerebrum and cerebellum to the rest of the body.


    The Mind
    General Theories

    The complexity of the brain makes it an uneasy puzzle to solve. Blending in the factor of the mind and we have a mystery inside a mystery. Scholars all over the world have attempted to describe the mind’s functioning from the detailed, microscopic perspective, as well as the big-picture perspective, such as the discussion of personality traits. The question of whether the brain explains the mind still pertains, as well posed by neurosurgeon Wilder Penfiled, does the brain think, “by the simple performance of its neuronal mechanisms, or by supplying energy to the mind? Or both?” Consciousness both encompasses and transcends its physical workings; that is the conclusion drawn by brain surgeon Roger Sperry, “In the human head there are forces within forces within forces, as in no other cubic half-foot of the universe that we know.” J. A. Hobson believes that when we finally have a full understanding of the brain and of the mind, the molecular and the molar views will eventually converge and, with the shock of realization, become one entity.

    Cognitive Science
    Nativism: The environment has the ability to shape our mind and modify its behavior by nurturing or withholding nurturance through the control of resources.
    Unity: The brain and the mind are one and the same. Changes in one will cause changes in the other.
    Connectivity: Learning causes the growth of new connections and thus developing the mind. The condition of these connection points is crucial to the brain's ability to think.
    Interconnectivity: The vast information and experiences that we store inside our brain are all interconnected and related with each other, some more strongly or loosely than others.
    Control: The well being of the organism is determined by the degree to which the organism feels in control of its environment or situation. Health varies with the level of control that is perceived.

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    The Identity Theory of Mind

    First published Wed Jan 12, 2000; substantive revision Fri May 18, 2007
    The identity theory of mind holds that states and processes of the mind are identical to states and processes of the brain. Strictly speaking, it need not hold that the mind is identical to the brain. Idiomatically we do use ‘She has a good mind’ and ‘She has a good brain’ interchangeably but we would hardly say ‘Her mind weighs fifty ounces’. Here I take identifying mind and brain as being a matter of identifying processes and perhaps states of the mind and brain. Consider an experience of pain, or of seeing something, or of having a mental image. The identity theory of mind is to the effect that these experiences just are brain processes, not merely correlated with brain processes.
    Some philosophers hold that though experiences are brain processes they nevertheless have fundamentally non-physical, psychical, properties, sometimes called ‘qualia’. Here I shall take the identity theory as denying the existence of such irreducible non-physical properties. Some identity theorists give a behaviouristic analysis of mental states, such as beliefs and desires, but others, sometimes called ‘central state materialists’, say that mental states are actual brain states. Identity theorists often describe themselves as ‘materialists’ but ‘physicalists’ may be a better word. That is, one might be a materialist about mind but nevertheless hold that there are entities referred to in physics that are not happily described as ‘material’.
    In taking the identity theory (in its various forms) as a species of physicalism, I should say that this is an ontological, not a translational physicalism. It would be absurd to try to translate sentences containing the word ‘brain’ or the word ‘sensation’ into sentences about electrons, protons and so on. Nor can we so translate sentences containing the word ‘tree’. After all ‘tree’ is largely learned ostensively, and is not even part of botanical classification. If we were small enough a dandelion might count as a tree. Nevertheless a physicalist could say that trees are complicated physical mechanisms. The physicalist will deny strong emergence in the sense of some philosophers, such as Samuel Alexander and possibly C.D. Broad . The latter remarked (Broad 1937) that as far as was known at that time the properties of common salt cannot be deduced from the properties of sodium in isolation and of chlorine in isolation. (He put it too epistemologically: chaos theory shows that even in a deterministic theory physical consequences can outrun predictability.) Of course the physicalist will not deny the harmless sense of "emergence" in which an apparatus is not just a jumble of its parts (Smart 1981).

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    Last edited by DANUTZ39; Jan 31, 2009 at 04:11.

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    Originally Posted by SLY1984
    I personally believe that a person's mind is created and molded by experiences they encountered. The brain is like a computer that takes information and processes it. It does not take in emotions or feelings into account, the way the mind does. More cold-blooded than the mind. That's why to me the mind is not the brain.
    Interesting, but, as a philosopher, in the classical sense, I don't want to get bogged down into firm a belief.

    So, there are several questions I'd like to ask those of you interested in the topic... 1) Can the mind exist without the brain? If it cannot, does this mean that the mind has to be the brain? 2) Do babies, fetuses, have minds, or do they only have brains, since you say experience is required, in order for a person to have a mind? 3) Does a man or woman, when in a comatose state, have a mind or only a brain? 4) There's a saying that people use, where they say "I'm losing my mind." Based on what people have said, thus far, how can we place this saying into context? Can this loss of one's mind actually occur?
    Last edited by OGKnickfan; Jan 31, 2009 at 21:28.

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    this is actually a very interesting thread...the mind is a scary/beautiful thing....it can kill you or make you...turn you crazy, make you see things...on the other hand it can give you happiness and joy which the complete opposite.

    I'm definitely going to take some classes on how the mind works.

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    Damn you OG, I know I'm going to spend wayyyyyyyyy too much time in this thread.

    And on the question of whether the brain and the mind are the same thing, I say yes. Just seems logical. How could they not be? I mean, how could we think without the brain? We couldn't. So the brain and the mind are the same thing.

    I like Sly's responce, but personally I see it as that the brain is a multifaceted thing. It handles the processes, i.e. breathing, running all the other organs, responding to stimuli, but also runs the conscious state, which I guess would be the mind.

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    I personally think the brain is all of the mind, but the mind is not all of the brain.

    The brain contains information about handling all processes of life, and humans would be absoultely nothing without it. Now i think the mind is the exact same, only with feelings, something the brain does not have.

    Our mind is everything our brain is, only with feeling, emotion, conscious, and basically, one's mentality.

    For example, when one says they're in a "___ State of Mind", They mean they are in that mentality. They are thinking like that, intellectually and emotionally. Which goes back to what i think

    In my opinion, The brain is intellect. The mind is intellect and emotion.

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    Interesting stuff. So... you're the saying that feelings are of the mind, but not of the brain. And tuner is saying that he can't see the mind functioning without the brain. I said this to a student, once, who was a member of the philosophy club I ran, and he or she said that the mind is like an engine that powers the brain. On the other hand, maybe the brain is the engine behind the mind. What do you think?

    In my opinion, I think they: the brain and mind, definitely have to work together, in order for feelings to be there, in a person: a memory, or experience, recorded by the brain, is used to produce a feeling, when we see something similar: fear, anxiety, joy, etc. If we could not remember, there would just be curiosity. It's like the question, "do you mind?" We don't ask, "do you brain?" I guess this is the discriminating qualities of the mind, at work.

    The question that popped up, in my mind, is: do animals, then, have minds, or do they only have brains? Also, do you think that a computer can be created, with a mind or a brain: A.I.?

    There are also spiritual questions that come up. Does the mind experience death, or is it only our bodies that do? Also, is the mind the spirit or an integral part of it? If the mind survives death, is death even a reality?

    There's also the issue of amnesia: a clean slate, in the brain. I've never met anyone with amnesia, but has this person actually "lost his mind?"

    Years after having discussed the mind, I still don't know for sure what it is, maybe we'll come to a conclusion, while in this thread.
    Last edited by OGKnickfan; Jan 31, 2009 at 21:27.

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    Originally Posted by OGKnickfan
    Interesting stuff. So... you're the saying that feelings are of the mind, but not of the brain. And tuner is saying that he can't see the mind functioning without the brain. I said this to a student, once, who was a member of the philosophy club I ran, and he or she said that the mind is like an engine that powers the brain. On the other hand, maybe the brain is the engine behind the mind. What do you think?

    In my opinion, I think they: the brain and mind, definitely have to work together, in order for feelings to be there, in a person: a memory, or experience, recorded by the brain, is used to produce a feeling, when we see something similar: fear, anxiety, joy, etc. If we could not remember, there would just be curiosity. It's like the question, "do you mind?" We don't ask, "do you brain?" I guess this is the discriminating qualities of the mind, at work.

    The question that popped up, in my mind, is: do animals, then, have minds, or do they only have brains? Also, do you think that a computer can be created, with a mind or a brain: A.I.?

    There are also spiritual questions that come up. Does the mind experience death, or is it only our bodies that do? Also, is the mind the spirit or an integral part of it? If the mind survives death, is death even a reality?

    There's also the issue of amnesia: a clean slate, in the brain. I've never met anyone with amnesia, but has this person actually "lost his mind?"

    Years after having discussed the mind, I still don't know for sure what it is, maybe we'll come to a conclusion, while in this thread.

    I think animals have minds, because they do feel.Computers are not living beings. I don't think they have a mind. i think the brain and mind work together, but it is the mind generating the feeling. whenever i think of spirituality, i think of mind. When you say of the mind experences death, for some reason, religion is the first thing that comes to me. I think religious beliefs have alot to do with it. I am Christian, so I think that our minds live forever with God, but our bodies do not. Whenever you think of spirit, you think of religion. And I think that religion has a lot to do with this subject, especially since you brought up spirituality.

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    Originally Posted by OGKnickfan
    There are also spiritual questions that come up. Does the mind experience death, or is it only our bodies that do? Also, is the mind the spirit or an integral part of it? If the mind survives death, is death even a reality?
    Philosophy

    Definition: The word philosophy is derived from Greek roots that mean “love of wisdom.” As used here, philosophy is not built on acceptance of belief in God, but it tries to give people a unified view of the universe and endeavors to make them critical thinkers. It employs chiefly speculative means rather than observation in a search for truth.

    So really, philosophy and spirituality cannot go together.

    But to answer the question of does the mind experience death, or only the body.

    What is the condition of the dead?

    Eccl. 9:5: “The living are conscious that they will die; but as for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.”

    Ps. 146:4: “His spirit goes out, he goes back to his ground; in that day his thoughts [“thoughts,” KJ, 145:4 in Dy; “all his thinking,” NE; “plans,” RS, NAB] do perish.”

    John 11:11-14: “‘Lazarus our friend has gone to rest, but I am journeying there to awaken him from sleep.’ . . . Jesus said to them outspokenly: ‘Lazarus has died.’” (Also Psalm 13:3)

    Is there some part of man that lives on when the body dies?


    Ezek. 18:4: “The soul [“soul,” RS, NE, KJ, Dy, Kx; “man,” JB; “person,” TEV] that is sinning—it itself will die.”

    Isa. 53:12: “He poured out his soul [“soul,” RS, KJ, Dy; “life,” TEV; “himself,” JB, Kx, NAB] to the very death.” (Compare Matthew 26:38.)



    Good day to all!

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    At the beginning of this thread, I asked people to use the Socratic method of inquiry, when replying. I understand that people can use whatever they like, but what results is a closing of the conversation. If you want to use Socrates' technique, simply interlace your replies with tentative answers and questions. No true philosophical argument can be firm, end-all, bottom line. As Socrates once said, famously, "I only know that I don't know anything."

    The meaning of philos is love, though it has to be considered that love has many different meanings in Greek; and sophy means knowledge. Philosophy is about seeking knowledge, and, if truth did not come into play, there would not be so many different approaches, and such an open atmosphere, when it comes to the creation of new ones. It's also contradictory to claim that philosophy is about seeking out one unified way of thinking and then also claim that philosophy is about critical thinking. The truth is that there are lots of approaches, taken by different philosophers.

    As for philosophy and spirituality, there are a number of different schools, and a number of different thinkers, that are involved in spiritual inquiry, including many Christian philosophers: Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Francis of Assissi, and many others, that argue for proof of God's existence or discuss God's nature. Most religions, in fact, involve some sort of philosophy, a way of looking at things: they say love is like that, man is like that, parents, women, animals, etc. I know that JWs always harp on about philosophy being negative, without even knowing what it means, but it's actually healthy to think critically, not that all philosophers do (most don't), as opposed to what's unhealthy: thinking cynically.
    Last edited by OGKnickfan; Feb 01, 2009 at 16:47.

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    Originally Posted by OGKnickfan
    At the beginning of this thread, I asked people to use the Socratic method of inquiry, when replying. I understand that people can use whatever they like, but what results is a closing of the conversation. If you want to use Socrates' technique, simply interlace your replies with tentative answers and questions. No true philosophical argument can be firm, end-all, bottom line. As Socrates once said, famously, "I only know that I don't know anything."

    The meaning of philos is love, though it has to be considered that love has many different meanings in Greek; and sophy means knowledge. Philosophy is about seeking knowledge, and, if truth did not come into play, there would not be so many different approaches, and such an open atmosphere, when it comes to the creation of new ones. It's also contradictory to claim that philosophy is about seeking out one unified way of thinking and then also claim that philosophy is about critical thinking. The truth is that there are lots of approaches, taken by different philosophers.

    As for philosophy and spirituality, there are a number of different schools, and a number of different thinkers, that are involved in spiritual inquiry, including many Christian philosophers: Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, Francis of Assissi, and many others, that argue for proof of God's existence or discuss God's nature. Most religions, in fact, involve some sort of philosophy, a way of looking at things: they say love is like that, man is like that, parents, women, animals, etc. I know that JWs always harp on about philosophy being negative, without even knowing what it means, but it's actually healthy to think critically, not that all philosophers do (most don't), as opposed to what's unhealthy: thinking cynically.
    Because we may not agree, does not mean we don't know what philosophy means. Philosophy means exactly what the definition I gave, says. Now if you wanna add to it for your own benefit, feel free. But say that, instead of, "JW don't know what it means".

    And, if you noticed, I did not bother to engage in any of the conversation other than the spirituality part. Why? Because philosophy is something imperfect man engages in, that is why they never find an answer. Just keep going in circles. While the Bible is God's word, which has the spirtual answers one seeks.

    And to this part: "Most religions, in fact, involve some sort of philosophy, a way of looking at things". This may be true, but it's a very dangerous thing when man's philosophy intertwines with spirituality, none the less.

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    Originally Posted by Knicks4lyfe
    Because we may not agree, does not mean we don't know what philosophy means. Philosophy means exactly what the definition I gave, says. Now if you wanna add to it for your own benefit, feel free. But say that, instead of, "JW don't know what it means".

    And, if you noticed, I did not bother to engage in any of the conversation other than the spirituality part. Why? Because philosophy is something imperfect man engages in, that is why they never find an answer. Just keep going in circles. While the Bible is God's word, which has the spirtual answers one seeks.

    And to this part: "Most religions, in fact, involve some sort of philosophy, a way of looking at things". This may be true, but it's a very dangerous thing when man's philosophy intertwines with spirituality, none the less.

    Why do you have to rain on everything? If you think philosophy is the devil's work, don't read it, not even on here. And the definition I gave is one of the valid definitions for philosophy (there are many). Philosophy literally means love of knowledge or wisdom, and love has many different meanings in Greek. It does not involve going around in circles, which would mean repeating the same things, over and over again. It's a search which mentally looks more like a journey forward, and all around, than a movement in the same direction, over and over again.

    In fact, you, and those like you, go around in circles, a very small one: repeating the same junk beliefs, which you never find the truth in, this is why, as you say, you have the answer. Of course you don't like, or practice, philosophy, you are bound to your bs religion, without question, because it makes you feel good, something the truth does not necessarily do.

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    Originally Posted by OGKnickfan
    Why do you have to rain on everything? If you think philosophy is the devil's work, don't read it, not even on here. And the definition I gave is one of the valid definitions for philosophy (there are many). Philosophy literally means love of knowledge or wisdom, and love has many different meanings in Greek.
    You said this a few posts up "I know that JWs always harp on about philosophy being negative, without even knowing what it means"

    But you say "Philosophy literally means love of knowledge or wisdom"

    Let's see what JW believe philosophy means again. Philosophy Definition: The word philosophy is derived from Greek roots that mean "love of wisdom."

    You said, again "Philosophy literally means love of knowledge or wisdom". The definitions seem to match. Why do you say JW don't know what it means then?


    Originally Posted by OGKnickfan
    It does not involve going around in circles, which would mean repeating the same things, over and over again. It's a search which mentally looks more like a journey forward, and all around, than a movement in the same direction, over and over again.
    A search usually means you have an end point in mind. Philosophy is like an endless journey to some. And that's the problem with it.


    Originally Posted by OGKnickfan
    In fact, you, and those like you, go around in circles, a very small one: repeating the same junk beliefs, which you never find the truth in, this is why, as you say, you have the answer. Of course you don't like, or practice, philosophy, you are bound to your bs religion, without question, because it makes you feel good, something the truth does not necessarily do.
    I believe there is a God who created us, not to be lost, wandering around searching for answers to major questions like "Does the mind experience death, or is it only our bodies that do? Also, is the mind the spirit or an integral part of it? If the mind survives death, is death even a reality?". If one believes in a creator, than one will believe that the creator knows what happens upon death. Just sharing what I believe is true, like some have here.

    You say you have the truth, but then you say this "Interesting, but, as a philosopher, in the classical sense, I don't want to get bogged down into firm a belief."

    Well since when is truth not firm? You can't claim truth, but then not be "bogged down into a firm belief". Then you are effectively saying you don't believe there's really a truth! Truth does not bog you down, it is enlightenment at it's fullest. The end of the journey. Classic philosophy is "a mental journey, that keeps going forward" that does not allow a person to "get bogged down into a firm belief". Truth and philosophy don't mix because of this.

    The thread is not rained on. I only responded to one specific portion. Enjoy the rest!
    Last edited by Knicks4lyfe; Feb 02, 2009 at 02:18.

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