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Mind-Body Dualism - Are they Separate or the Same?

Mind-Body Dualism - Are they Separate or the Same?



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Published by barbarian27
Are the mind and body one entity, or is the mind a separate, immaterial substance? I argue that the mind and body are the same thing based on recent scientific discoveries.
Are the mind and body one entity, or is the mind a separate, immaterial substance? I argue that the mind and body are the same thing based on recent scientific discoveries.

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Published by: barbarian27 on Sep 03, 2009
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Running Head: MIND-BODY PROBLEMThe Mind-Body ProblemChad A. CohanUniversity of Phoenix
1Mind-Body Problem
 The Mind-Body Problem
Philosophers and scientistshave debated the unknown for years. One such issue that has pervaded philosophers and scientistsin debate has been the issue of mind-body dualism. Mind- body dualism "assumes the existence of two distinct principles of being in the universe: spiritand matter, or soul and body." (Kazlev, 2004) The concept of dualism can be linked all the way back toPlato(Duke & Hicken & Nicoll & Robinson & Strachan, 1995) andAristotle(Robinson, 1983). But the argument over mind-body dualism came into existence most profoundly whenintroduced by Rene Descartes. Rene Descartes postulated that the body is a living, physicalentity that takes up space and is able to participate in moving, similar to a car. He also arguedthat the mind is an immaterial substance and does nottake up any space. The realm of the mindand consciousness is related to the physical body and evidence supports the idea that there is noindependent mind.The realm of mind and consciousness is awareness. Descartes once said, "I think,therefore I am." (Baird, F.E. & Kaufmann, W., 2008) The meaning of this statement is that a person pondering on their existence is alone proof of existence. Thus, awareness is considered to be the realm of mind and consciousness. In a recent study, according to the University of Leicester (2008), scientists have postulated that they have found cells in the brain that becomevery busy only when something is being explicitly noticed. Volunteers of the realm of consciousness study were displayed pictures on a computer screen for a brief amount of time, just enough for the picture to be noticeable. The volunteers were inquired each time whether they saw the picture or not. While the volunteers pictured the images or not, researchers werewatching what was happening in the brain during this exercise. Certain neurons fired to the perception in an all-or-none way.The mind and consciousness relate to the physical body via one's nervous system. The
2Mind-Body Problem
nervous system is composed of an array of nerves, thebrain, and spinal cord. The nervoussystem acts as a mainframe controller of thebody. Information that is sent to your brain is usedto activate all your actions and reactions. The brain is thought to be the physical portion which isintertwined with your mind. Your mind is thought to be intangible things such as emotions,thoughts, and perceptions. The study of the brain has made it abundantly clear that our thoughtsexist as measurable forms of energies / electricity in the brain tissue (Mo, 2006). For example,your arm will lift if you stimulate a particular part of the brain. This implies that thoughts aresome form of matter.
Furthermore, according to Mo (2006), brain activity was simultaneously paralleled with the thought of a single word by researchers at the University of New Mexicoconducting a study using a refined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technique.The concept of an independent mind that transcends physical functions of the bodythrough the central nervous system is not completely justified and can be countered withcontrasting evidence. It appears that the mind controls the body in the way the electrical systemcontrols a computer.Therefore, the mind affects practically everything in one's body. For example, the mind is dependent on the specific sense organs. The senses themselves arealterations of the nerve ends that have specific ways for facilitating stimuli to act on the nerveends. Let's take the eye, for example. The eye is basically the optic nerve diffused to create theretina and is mutated in specific ways to make it perceptive to vibrations. To illustrate, supposeone sees a picture on the wall. My eyes, the light, and the optic nerves are all the physical partsthat are involved in seeing the picture. However, in order to see the picture, our mind must beconscious of it. If one was to close his or her eyes, he or she would not see the picture. Or if onehad an eye disease and could not see out of his or her eyes, then this person would also not beable to see the picture. This is proof that the mind is dependent on the central nervous system(Pyle, 2009).
3Mind-Body Problem

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