Suppose instead that we deny that the mind is some mysterious substance, and we hold instead that there are only mental events and that "the mind" designates no more than a series of mental events We can still inquire about the relation between mind and body in a different way, in terms of the relation between mental events and physical events. We can ask: Are mental events totally different from physical events, so that you can't explain what mental events are in terms of physical events; or are mental events somehow explainable as being the same as physical events For example, when John feels a pain, a mental event is occurring; now is that pain even possibly the same as something that occurs in John's brain, such as the firing of some special group of neurons Now this question we will examine.
The mind-body problem can be introduced more fully with an example. Suppose John decides to walk across the room, whereupon he does in fact walk across the room. ...
We might ask: How is it possible that a decision, which is something mental, resulted in something in your brain, which is something physical If we say that the mental and the physical are totally different sorts of things, then how can one have any causal impact on the other How can a mere mental event, a decision, actually cause neurons in my brain to start firing The very idea might seem absurd.
On one view , a better description of the situation is this: John's decision is itself a physical event. When John decides to take my trip across the room, a group of neurons fire in his brain. He is not aware of those neurons; but the firing of those neurons is itself just the same as his decision. There isn't any more to the decision than that physical event. So, on the view in question, there's no trouble thinking about how a mental event can have a physical effect; mental events are themselves physical. Ultimately, everything is physical.
The mind-body problem is a philosophical problem, and as such it has philosophical solutions. Those solutions lead to the adoption of a point of view about the mind-body problem, which, in turn, leads to a particular way of dealing with the world. Usually, most of us do not think about our own solutions to the mind-body problem, and, sometimes, we may use different solutions at different times. In the Middle Ages, the mind-body problem was not even identified as a problem, and, therefore, the "solution" then was completely confounded, meaning that mind and body were thoroughly bound up together in one complex and confusing bundle.
What is the mind-body problem Descartes helped to define it when he noted that if he amputated his foot, he had affected his