In the field of Philosophy, there seems to be few concepts that are more compelling to philosophers than that of the mind-body theory. Often referred to as the mind-body “problem,” this theory concerns the relationship between the physical body and the inner workings of the mind (generally, in regards to humans, although the mind-body problem has been applied to animals). The mind-body problem is credited to the seventeenth century French philosopher René Descartes. According to philosopher Neil Campbell in his book A Brief Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind, prior to Descartes’ mind-body problem proposition, most of the world’s scientific theories were based off of the ancient Greek teachings of the philosopher, Aristotle (13). Aristotle …show more content…
Descartes’ explores this concept in his work, Mediations on First Philosophy, in which he develops the famous theory that started the conversation of the mind and body; Cartesian Dualism (also known as mind-body dualism). In summary, Cartesian Dualism argues that the physical body and immaterial soul are two distinct things that happen to interact with one another. The reason that Cartesian Dualism is important is that it has set a foundation for which philosophers can work from in regards to expanding on the mind-body problem. Thus, there are numerous approaches that have branched off of Descartes’ theory. Two such approaches are Behaviorism and Functionalism. Although similar in some aspects, the two approaches also differ in regards aspects dealing with how the mind and body process and react to stimuli, respectively. Ultimately, it will be explored what both of these theories offer, as well as why functionalism is a significant improvement over behaviorism when dealing with the mind-body …show more content…
Jaegwon Kim indicates that famous philosopher Hilary Putnam introduced the now dominant functionalist theory in his 1967 paper Psychological Predicates (129). Functionalism is the belief that phenomena are defined by the role that they play; in other words, what they do rather than what they are (Campbell 82). Functionalism is also characterized by its ability to unify and understand how mental processes, sensory stimuli, and physical behavior work together in describing the mind-body problem (Kim 169). Functionalism’s foundation relies on an input-output basis in that different mental states can affect this flow of information, so to speak (Kim 169). A popular functionalist concept is Turing Test which was created by mathematician Alan Turing. Turing, having been extremely interested in artificial intelligence, devised the test in which claims that if a computer mimics human intelligence, than it is actually intelligent (Campbell 87). Turing argued that if A and B are equivalent in regard to function, then A and B must also be equivalent in terms of their mental state. This popular functionalist claim is not exempt from criticism though, which will be discussed shortly. Jaegwon Kim summarizes functionalism as “a casual intermediary between sensory inputs and mental states as causes, on the one hand, and behaviors and other mental states as effects on the other”
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysShow More
CHIDIEBUBE OPARA PHIL 1301 PROF BROWN July 10, 2017 PRINCESS ELISABETH First, in my essay about what Princess Elisabeth was asking Descartes to clarify was about the meditation. This meditation was to give an expression of how the mind and the body interact to one another. Next, In Descartes response to Princess Elisabeth, he claims that the mind and the body are the two different important substances in our human beings.
BACKGROUND: The following notes describe the background of the time period and the culture. This is for better understanding of the text, relevancy, and application of Socrates’ views in regards to the ancient time period and our life. -Pythagoreans view on death consisted of a belief in immortality of the soul, reincarnation in human or animal form, and the concern to keep the soul pure by avoiding contamination of the body. Socrates uses these themes to discuss his own perception about immortality.
Most famously advocated by René Descartes, substance dualism is the view that minds, which are essentially thinking and consist of mental substance, and bodies, which are necessarily extended and made of material substance, are ontologically separate entities. The material and mental have entirely different natures, so a mind cannot be equivalent to a body. Human beings, therefore, must be mixtures of the two substances. Substance dualists assert that, despite lacking properties in common, mind and body connect through the capacity of each to causally affect the other (Kim 34). While this position may initially appear intuitive and commonsensical, Descartes and subsequent dualists have faced a multitude of challenges concerning mental causation.
The divide between dualism and physicalism is a driving philosophical question in the discussion of the nature of mind and body. While dualists argue that the mind is an immaterial substance that transcends extension, physicalists believe that everything is physical or supervenes on the physical. A common form of physicalism is set forth in the type-identity thesis, which asserts that every type of mental state is identical to a type of physical state. The token-identity thesis is another, much narrower form which only equates an individual thought to an individual brain state. Physicalism comes to mean that there is nothing in the world that is not physical.
There are two major ideas in the mind, body debate: physicalism, and dualism. Physicalism states that the human being is a composition of different neurological and biological functions, that there is no mind, only the brain. This belief is due to the idea that there is no comprehensive evidence of a mind. However, if a mind does exists, it would fill in components of the person that the brain alone cannot. If a person is viewed solely as their physical reactions, then aspects of the person, like where their thought and ideas steam from, are lost.
The question for philosophers of mind is, if the mind is immaterial and invisible, then how can we know whether or not it exists? Dualism’s answer is that human beings do have a mental component distinct from our physical bodies. It embraces the existence of free will and other mental aspects that seem to make humans unique from other creatures. To support dualism, Jaegwon Kim presents the following argument: “Suppose I am identical with this body of mine.” (Jaegwon Kim, Philosophy of Mind, page 42).
Although it may appear to the Chinese-speaking people outside of the room that whoever is inside can speak Chinese, we are aware that he most certainly cannot. This system of input and output cannot explain reason or intentionality to what is taking place. Thought cannot be reduced to a set of syntactic rules on the mere basis of input/output algorithm without oversimplifying the entire process of the mind. Another important question comes up when discussing Functionalism, how can it account for the evolution of consciousness?
Similarly, Thomas Nagel also criticizes functionalism for its lack of accounting for qualia. Nagel argues that functionalism is invalid in asserting that the mind is a computer program and that the body is what runs the program. As mentioned earlier, functionalism reduces mental states to computational states, composed of inputs, outputs and other computational states. Nagel argues that it is incorrect to make this assumption because in order for an organism to be reduced to another thing, there can’t be the case that the reduction totally disregards what it is like to be that organism. Nagel makes his argument by considering the definitions of subjective and objective facts.
There are three different forms of functionalism such as the analytic functionalism, physchofuctionalism and machine-state functionalism. Analytic functionalism is the most common of them all, it describes the function of a job description of mental states. The second from is physchofunctionalism in which opposes to the idea of behaviorism and saying no to the physical aspect of the mind. The last form of functionalism is the machine-state functionalism in which was founded by Hillary Putnam. Putnam was an American philosopher whose ideas were based on the apologies of mind.
70). In other words, how can be known that a robot or computer or other creature under a functionalist view is full of mental activity? As a result, some argument has been developed that show that qualia does not have a functional role, one of the arguments is the ‘absent qualia’, for instance, Block suggested the idea with the “Chinese nation” mental experiment to support the lack of phenomenal qualities in the functional sates (Block, 2007, pp. 70-73)
Around 1630 Descartes theorized the idea of “dualism”, where the mind and body are separate, but work together simultaneously. He held a mechanistic view of humans, and he was the first to theorize the “reflex”. His ideas can be seen to be proved in our current research which shows the interconnectivity of our brain to our entire biological physiology. In 1651 Thomas Hobbes led the way of the British empiricism movement.
This idea was called functionalism, which viewed behavior as purposeful because it led to survival. Instead of being restricted to only the structure of the mind, functionalists studied why behavior and mental processes worked in particular ways. The key person to make an impact on functionalism was William James, who wrote the textbook Principles of Psychology, as well as established a laboratory for psychology. Functionalism might relate mostly to psychology, but it can be used to relate to other fields. Functionalism will relate to my field because I intend to work in mental health for social work.