Armstrong Arguing Mind . Brain Disticntion a Essay

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Armstrong arguing mind . brain disticntion a distinction a difference (akin a distinction a kleenex a tissue)? Does adequately explain human conduct?

Armstrong - mind theories

There is much controversy regarding the difference between mind and brain, as while some support the belief that the mind has nothing to do with the brain because there is nothing physical about the former's functioning, others consider that the mind and the brain are basically the same thing. According to Australian philosopher David Malet Armstrong, it is safe to say that the mind and the body are one and the same, particularly when considering each of them to be "that in which mental processes occur' or 'that which has mental states'" (Armstrong, 1993, p. 1). People are typically inclined to believe that the mind is not physical because it is seen (through history) as an entity that has no physical shape, being the unseen power controlling the physical body.

Mental processes are owed to a series of physical progressions occurring in the central nervous system. According to Armstrong (2), philosophers are among the most ardent critics of the physicalist theory of mind. Science proves that the brain and the mind are the same thing, since they are both responsible for triggering complex mental processes (Armstrong 5).

Mentalist theories generally promote the conception that the brain and the whole body react to mental or spiritual processes, with material objects being nothing more than settlements for souls. Mentalist theorists believe that the physical world and everything that happens in it is generated by ideas (Armstrong 5).

In contrast to mentalist theorists, materialist theories are reluctant to accept that the mind is actually different from the brain. Materialist theories support the belief that thinking is owed to the mind, which is nothing more than a part of the body, namely the brain. Materialist theorists consider that the mind is actually a sector of the body, or at least a property of the body, with it being physical. Materialist theories also relate to how mind and matter are both physical, but that they are simply arranged differently (Armstrong 5).

Cartesian Dualism relates to how the mind is a spiritual substance and that it is not matter. The physical body works together with a spiritual side, and while it functions in accordance to physical laws, it is also governed by the mind, which an immaterial essence that presumably assists the body in operating. Cartesian dualism was primarily promoted by…

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All across the twentieth century, a number of philosophers shifted their attention from the belief that the mind had actually been immaterial and came to think of it as being material and actually being physically connected to the body, given that it is part of it. Armstrong in particular lobbies for people to accept that mental processes should be associated to psychico-chemical statuses present in the nervous system. Exemplifying this through the connection between DNA molecules and living cells, Armstrong demonstrates that mental processes can be likened to DNA molecules, physically influencing the body (Armstrong, 1993, p. 358).

If mental processes are equivalent to physico-chemical processes in the central nervous system, it means that they are also responsible for human behavior. People are generally inclined to believe that there is no connection between the mind and the brain because they cannot understand how a process that is purely physical is capable to determine complex thinking (Armstrong, p. 358).

In general, people who are reluctant to accept materialist theories do so because they have not yet been acquainted with a machine that is capable to produce processes like the ones generated by the mind. However, once they are aware that such mechanisms exist, they are likely to abandon their mentalist convictions and embrace materialist theories, certain that there is nothing more to the mind than purely physical processes (Armstrong, p. 358).

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