Mind-body Problem

Mind-body Problem
   1) The Mind Is Entirely Distinct from Body
   From this I knew that I was a substance the whole essence or nature of which is to think, and that for its existence there is no need of any place, nor does it depend on any material thing; so that this "me," that is to say, the soul by which I am what I am, is entirely distinct from body, and is even more easy to know than is the latter; and even if body were not, the soul would not cease to be what it is. (Descartes, 1970a, p. 101)
   2) Critique of the Cartesian View
   [It] still remains to be explained how that union and apparent intermingling [of mind and body] . . . can be found in you, if you are incorporeal, unextended and indivisible. . . . How, at least, can you be united with the brain, or some minute part in it, which (as has been said) must yet have some magnitude or extension, however small it be? If you are wholly without parts how can you mix or appear to mix with its minute subdivisions? For there is no mixture unless each of the things to be mixed has parts that can mix with one another. (Gassendi, 1970, p. 201)
   3) The Union That Exists between the Body and the Mind
   [T]here are . . . certain things which we experience in ourselves and which should be attributed neither to the mind nor body alone, but to the close and intimate union that exists between the body and the mind. . . . Such are the appetites of hunger, thirst, etc., and also the emotions or passions of the mind which do not subsist in mind or thought alone . . . and finally all the sensations. (Descartes, 1970b, p. 238)
   4) Psychology Is Not the Study of Disembodied Minds
   With any other sort of mind, absolute Intelligence, Mind unattached to a particular body, or Mind not subject to the course of time, the psychologist as such has nothing to do. (James, 1890, p. 183)
   5) Each Mental Event Can Be Reduced to a Neural Event
   [The] intention is to furnish a psychology that shall be a natural science: that is to represent psychical processes as quantitatively determinate states of specifiable material particles, thus making these processes perspicuous and free from contradiction. (Freud, 1966, p. 295)
   6) The Thesis Is That the Mental Is Nomologically Irreducible
   The thesis is that the mental is nomologically irreducible: there may be true general statements relating the mental and the physical, statements that have the logical form of a law; but they are not lawlike (in a strong sense to be described). If by absurdly remote chance we were to stumble on a non-stochastic true psychophysical generalization, we would have no reason to believe it more than roughly true. (Davidson, 1970, p. 90)
   7) The Doctrine That Men Are Machines
   We can divide those who uphold the doctrine that men are machines, or a similar doctrine, into two categories: those who deny the existence of mental events, or personal experiences, or of consciousness; . . . and those who admit the existence of mental events, but assert that they are "epiphenomena"-that everything can be explained without them, since the material world is causally closed. (Popper & Eccles, 1977, p. 5)
   8) Brain-Mind Interaction
   Mind affects brain and brain affects mind. That is the message, and by accepting it you commit yourself to a special view of the world. It is a view that shows the limits of the genetic imperative on what we turn out to be, both intellectually and emotionally. It decrees that, while the secrets of our genes express themselves with force throughout our lives, the effect of that information on our bodies can be influenced by our psychological history and beliefs about the world. And, just as important, the other side of the same coin argues that what we construct in our minds as objective reality may simply be our interpretations of certain bodily states dictated by our genes and expressed through our physical brains and body. Put differently, various attributes of mind that seem to have a purely psychological origin are frequently a product of the brain's interpreter rationalizing genetically driven body states. Make no mistake about it: this two-sided view of mind-brain interactions, if adopted, has implications for the management of one's personal life. (Gazzaniga, 1988, p. 229)

Historical dictionary of quotations in cognitive science. . 2015.

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