Philosophy of the Mind - Trevor Halle Philosophy 101 Prof....

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Trevor Halle Philosophy 101 Prof. Eklund Writing Assignment II: The Mind as Matter The question of the relationship between the physical and mental realms of existence leaves many people at a loss. Many theories have been created that attempt to explain this connection or disprove that such a connection exists at all. However, as with most topics that humanity has yet to prove completely one way or the other, I feel it is the combination of parts of theories that provides the best explanation. I find myself mostly in agreement with the rationalist and physicalist views on the mind, but I also believe that they cannot be treated as freestanding theories. In my opinion, the concept of the mind comes from an invariable relationship with the physical state of the brain; the mind is not a separate physical entity, but rather the result of different combinations of synapses in the brain. To begin, I must establish clearly what I am trying to define: whether or not the mind and the body are connected at all and, if they are connected, what kind of connection they have. Many philosophers would loosely define the mind as “the thinking thing, or ‘res cogitans’” (Blackburn 50). It is some part of a human being, either corporeal or incorporeal, that enables us to have elevated consciousness. We are able to contemplate “absent states of affairs,” both in the past and in the future, an ability that is beyond other organisms (Blackburn 79). There is also our ability to perceive—how we are able to “acquire, interpret, select, and organize sensory information” (Wikipedia “Perception”). There is no doubt that many would simply turn to a biological explanation, founded in the many chemicals, proteins, and processes that allow our bodies to function. However, there is some point in the path from stimulus to perception where the neurophysiology is insufficient. Even though all of the preceding biochemical and bioelectrical signals can be detected by external sources, internally there is a kind of “magic moment,” when a person “sees colors, hears sounds, feels textures and temperatures, and has sensations of taste and smell” (Blackburn 50). It is this so-called magic moment that philosophers have struggled to define; they are trying to find the
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Philosophy of the Mind - Trevor Halle Philosophy 101 Prof....

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