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Epistemology - Essay Example

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By being “in the head”, do we mean, for instance, that what we call the “mind” is actually just the brain and consequently that what we call “mental states” are nothing but the physical states of the brain? If this is the case, we should then in principle be able to tell a person’s thoughts simply by examining the physical states of his or her brain, but this is, if not utterly improbable, a possibility that in the immediate future is least likely to materialize. Or perhaps we mean that the mind is something other than the brain but in some special way is related to the brain, like that it is through the brain that the mind affects our behaviors. But what kind of entity is the mind, if at all it is an entity, if it is not the brain? There are two general kinds of existence under which any conception of how the mind exists can be classified; namely, physical existence and metaphysical existence. By “physical existence” we mean the kind of existence that lends itself to empirical observation and quantitative measurements while by “metaphysical existence,” we mean the kind of existence that does not. ...
For my purpose, I shall focus on the materialist views of the mind, for it is here where we can differentiate the mind from the brain. As we shall see later, there are variations of this view, for there are different ways in which the mind can be said to exist physically. Thus, I shall examine the basic claims and arguments under the materialist view of the mind upon addressing the main issue of this paper, i.e. is the mind nothing but the brain? The Materialist View The materialist views are divided into non-realist physicalism and realist physicalism. The issue between these two types of materialism concerns the reality of mental states in relation to the reality of the physical states of the brain or of the body: whether there really are no mental states and hence there are only these physical states or there really are mental states in addition to these physical states. Accordingly, non-realist physicalism rejects the existence of mental states and claims that there exist only the physical states of the brain or of the body; while realist physicalism affirms the reality of mental states in addition to the reality of the physical states of the brain. For non-realist physicalism, I shall examine the views of behaviorism and identity theory. And for realist physicalism, I shall examine the views of functionalism and computationalism. Afterwards, I shall present my own argument as to which among the said arguments best prove the nature of the mind’s existence. Behaviorism Behaviorism is generally regarded as the view that reduces mental states to the physical states of the body or, more precisely, to the body’s behaviors (Kim 1998, p. 24-46). This view is also often expressed as the view that claims that mental states are nothing but ...Show more

Summary

Is This Thing We Call “The Mind” Nothing But Our Brain? (Name of Student) (Name of Institution) Is This Thing We Call “The Mind” Nothing But Our Brain? Introduction The fact that the activities that we normally categorize as mental, such as thinking, making decisions, wishing, imagining, and experiencing pains and pleasures, are activities that we directly engage in as we go about our everyday lives should make the nature of the mind obvious to us…
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Epistemology essay example
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