Re: The Mind/Body Problem

From: HARNAD Stevan (
Date: Sun Jun 02 1996 - 18:52:18 BST

> From: "Swash Justin" <>
> Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 14:22:12 GMT
> The mind/body problem revolves around how brain activity is related
> to mental activity, and how physical happenings can become mental
> ones. So, when a cognitive process occurs in the brain, how does this
> turn into a "feeling" ?
> A major source of this problem is that the mind cannot be observed
> from the outside as the physical activities can be. For example, it
> is possible to follow how when a cut is made on someones hand the
> nerves carry signals from the wound to the brain, and the areas of
> the brain that are apparently involved in processing the information,
> and the time and order they are activated in. This gives a
> description of what is physically happening in the experience of
> pain, however, it does not show how these physical effects are
> transformed into the mental "feeling" of pain. It may be suggested
> for example, that this is a form of conditioning, and the nerve signals
> are related to a harmful event on the body, but this is just a theory
> of how the signal gives a meaningful message to the brain, and there
> is still an actual mental feeling of pain to explain.
> The monist theory suggests the feelings are the same as, ( but a special
> form of ) physical matter, whilst the dualists suggest they are
> different intrinsically. However, even the monists cannot say HOW
> the "mind" is special, and therefore can't argue how it can be
> accounted for.
> Without the ability to observe mental activity it seems impossible to
> show how it originates. Research into the functioning of cognitive
> processing needs to be further advanced also, as without a proper
> understanding of this, transforming physical processes into mental
> activity cannot be clearly identified either.

Good job, but for an A:

Would being able to "observe" mental activity help? Besides, don't we
"observe" it when we introspect?

How is the mind/body problem related to the problem of reverse

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