Metro State Atheists

Promoting Science, Reason, and Secular Values

The Mind-Body Problem

The mind-body problem deals with questions about the nature of the mind and how it is related to the physical world. Questions as to whether the mind is immaterial and distinct from the physical or an emergent property of a physical reality are of primary interest to the mind-body problem. I am of the opinion that the mind is an emergent property of a physical reality. Physical, in the context of this discussion, would include all forms of matter, energy, and the laws by which they abide.

That a causal relationship exists between the mind and body is obvious. This clearly implies that the mind can not be totally a completely nonphysical. Because the mind can be move into action by physical events, and because the mind can affect the physical body, it must be, at least in part, of a physical nature. If the mind is not subject to the physical world, events, drugs, and injury would have no affect on it. The only other possible alternative is that our immaterial mind wills itself to be subject to the laws of nature, thus creating the illusion that it is subject to them.

The minds inability to defy natural law and subconscious yielding to natural law would produce identical results. However, the latter conclusions makes additional assumption, i.e., that things are not what they appear to be. That things are not always as they seem, while true, does not justify rejecting apparent explanations and substituting them with whatever ones preference might dictate. While appearances can be deceiving, we only have reason to continually investigate the obvious, not to reject it outright and fill in the gap. It gives us a reason to question, not deny.

– Chalmer


September 25, 2008 - Posted by | philosophy | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. The mind is simply what the brain does. Is it useful to use the term “emergent property” here? There are so many layers involved.. My own thoughts about the Mind-Body problem go into the direction that there is more than one interface between mind and body. To affect each other, such an interface must contain a suitable mapping.

    Comment by jofr | June 20, 2009

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