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Attempting to focus one's mind in a direction that can be considered "philosophical" leads one to ask many questions. One such question is that of "the mind."Ask any grade school student as to where his or her brain is located, and he or she would have no problem answering. After some questioning, he or she might even be able to tell the person asking how said brain works, on a very rudimentary level. Unfortunately, the understanding that this child has and the answers science has deduced and discovered are not far apart. Very little is understood about how humans think, and more importantly, if all of the thinking humanity does is solely the product of physical, neuro-chemical reactions in the brain, or as some tend to think, there is some sort of non-corporeal mind somehow connected to the physical brain. Throughout the ages, many philosophers have considered whether we need to posit the existence of non-physical minds, and the question is just as relevant today. One philosopher who helps shed light on this problem was Gilbert Ryle, who wrote about it in his essay, The Ghost In The Machine. Within it he says that "A person... lives through two collateral histories, one consisting of what happens in and to his body, the other consisting of what happens in and to his mind. The first is public, the second private... " He goes on to say that "It is customary to express this bifurcation of his two lives and of his two worlds by saying that the things and events which belong to the physical world, including his own body, are external, while the workings of his own mind are internal. "Ryle goes on to say that this distinction between what is internal and what is external has led many to make some significant philosophical errors. He believes that many assume what he calls "the dogma of the Ghost in the Machine, "or the belief that the occurrence of mental processes belongs in the same category with the occurrence of physical processes. He believes that both of these processes occur, but that they are not of the same sort, and the dogma of the ghost in the machine presupposes them to be of the same sort. Ryle's argument works to strengthen the notion of the non-physical mind. Although his argument gives no definitive answers, it does, at least, give rise to the possibility of a non-physical mind. He defines the statuses of both physical and mental existence. "It is a necessary feature of what has physical existence that it is in space and time, it is a necessary feature of what has mental existence that it is in time but not in space. What has physical existence is composed of matter, or else is a function of matter; what has mental existence consists of consciousness, or else is a function of consciousness. "In his mind, he is sure of the existence of a non-physical mind, and, although arguable, it still gives rise to the possibility that a non-physical mind exists. Another philosopher who's writings might serve to clarify is J.J.C. Smart, especially in his essay, Materialism: The Identity Theory. Within this essay, Smart first defines materialism as "the theory that there is nothing in the world over and above those entities which are postulated by physics."He then attempts to theorize as to how this relates to consciousness. He states that, "...immediate experience is derivative from ...the external world. Furthermore, since ...immediate experience is in terms of a typical stimulus situation, ...immediate experience is itself neutral between materialism and dualism...the dualist would construe these goings on as goings on in an immaterial substance, whereas the materialist would construe these goings on as taking place inside our skulls." Smart also realizes the possibility of the non-physical mind as part of the human character. Again, his theories about the "location" of thought can be argued, and even he i! s aware of this, but his argument show the importance of it being considered. Philosophers seem to harbor a desire to remove extraneous information from their minds, many times because of the difficulties that said information places on already mentally trying ideas. One such question is that of the non-physical mind. Some philosophers believe that all a person ever will be is a sum of his corporeal parts, and that all the thought he or she has are products of his or her brain. On the other hand, there are philosophers who believe that our personalities are actually caused not only by physical reactions (i.e. neuro-chemical reactions), but also by an as-of-yet scientifically undefined area that is somehow outside of the physical body as we now know it. As of this time in human evolution, the definitive answer to that question is still unknown. What humanity has now are simply theories as to how our mind works, and even where it is located. It can only be considered presumptuous to remove the possibility of a non-physical mind until that answer is definitively answered. Therefore, humanity must posit the existence of a non-physical mind until our resources are such that a definitive, scientific explanation can be given to the workings of the mind and/or brain, and such explanation proves that our mental processes are solely the product of the human brain.
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The Non-Physical Mind
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The Non-Physical Mind

Words: 894    Pages: 3    Paragraphs: 5    Sentences: 62    Read Time: 03:15
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              Attempting to focus one's mind in a direction that can be considered "philosophical" leads one to ask many questions. One such question is that of "the mind. "Ask any grade school student as to where his or her brain is located, and he or she would have no problem answering. After some questioning, he or she might even be able to tell the person asking how said brain works, on a very rudimentary level.
             
              Unfortunately, the understanding that this child has and the answers science has deduced and discovered are not far apart. Very little is understood about how humans think, and more importantly, if all of the thinking humanity does is solely the product of physical, neuro-chemical reactions in the brain, or as some tend to think, there is some sort of non-corporeal mind somehow connected to the physical brain. Throughout the ages, many philosophers have considered whether we need to posit the existence of non-physical minds, and the question is just as relevant today. One philosopher who helps shed light on this problem was Gilbert Ryle, who wrote about it in his essay, The Ghost In The Machine. Within it he says that "A person. . . lives through two collateral histories, one consisting of what happens in and to his body, the other consisting of what happens in and to his mind. The first is public, the second private. . . " He goes on to say that "It is customary to express this bifurcation of his two lives and of his two worlds by saying that the things and events which belong to the physical world, including his own body, are external, while the workings of his own mind are internal. "Ryle goes on to say that this distinction between what is internal and what is external has led many to make some significant philosophical errors. He believes that many assume what he calls "the dogma of the Ghost in the Machine, "or the belief that the occurrence of mental processes belongs in the same category with the occurrence of physical processes. He believes that both of these processes occur, but that they are not of the same sort, and the dogma of the ghost in the machine presupposes them to be of the same sort. Ryle's argument works to strengthen the notion of the non-physical mind.
             
              Although his argument gives no definitive answers, it does, at least, give rise to the possibility of a non-physical mind. He defines the statuses of both physical and mental existence. "It is a necessary feature of what has physical existence that it is in space and time, it is a necessary feature of what has mental existence that it is in time but not in space. What has physical existence is composed of matter, or else is a function of matter; what has mental existence consists of consciousness, or else is a function of consciousness. "In his mind, he is sure of the existence of a non-physical mind, and, although arguable, it still gives rise to the possibility that a non-physical mind exists. Another philosopher who's writings might serve to clarify is J. J. C. Smart, especially in his essay, Materialism: The Identity Theory. Within this essay, Smart first defines materialism as "the theory that there is nothing in the world over and above those entities which are postulated by physics. "He then attempts to theorize as to how this relates to consciousness. He states that, ". . . immediate experience is derivative from . . . the external world. Furthermore, since . . . immediate experience is in terms of a typical stimulus situation, . . . immediate experience is itself neutral between materialism and dualism. . . the dualist would construe these goings on as goings on in an immaterial substance, whereas the materialist would construe these goings on as taking place inside our skulls. " Smart also realizes the possibility of the non-physical mind as part of the human character.
             
              Again, his theories about the "location" of thought can be argued, and even he i! s aware of this, but his argument show the importance of it being considered. Philosophers seem to harbor a desire to remove extraneous information from their minds, many times because of the difficulties that said information places on already mentally trying ideas. One such question is that of the non-physical mind. Some philosophers believe that all a person ever will be is a sum of his corporeal parts, and that all the thought he or she has are products of his or her brain. On the other hand, there are philosophers who believe that our personalities are actually caused not only by physical reactions (i. e. neuro-chemical reactions), but also by an as-of-yet scientifically undefined area that is somehow outside of the physical body as we now know it. As of this time in human evolution, the definitive answer to that question is still unknown. What humanity has now are simply theories as to how our mind works, and even where it is located. It can only be considered presumptuous to remove the possibility of a non-physical mind until that answer is definitively answered.
             
              Therefore, humanity must posit the existence of a non-physical mind until our resources are such that a definitive, scientific explanation can be given to the workings of the mind and/or brain, and such explanation proves that our mental processes are solely the product of the human brain.
Philosophy Essay Expository Essay 
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