The mind being physical


Social animals, e.g., dogs, horses, whales, apes, are pretty smart.


All animals have souls, in the sense that they have an animating principle of life. The question is whether they have a spiritual immortal soul or a material soul. My pet dog was pretty smart too; he used to try to teach the other pet dog not to chase cars. But he never engaged in intellectual conversations, theorized about the meaning of life, or read the morning newspaper.


I’d argue that it’s a matter of degree. I’m not saying they’re identical to us, but they have much of our cognitive hardware, if not nearly as complex.

I’d argue they’re one in the same, to the extent that the brain’s different areas have different functions and features like the SES act as coordinators of activity.


I don’t understand how this suggests that the mind is physical. Injury, disease and experiences (aka, the physical) can influence the mind, but I don’t get how this article, at least, proves that the mind itself is physical.


I’m not saying it does. What the article talks is a supervisory system in the brain that coordinates activities in various centers in the brain. That’s where the modern notion that the “mind”, as it were, may in fact may be a mobile thing. It has no specific center at all, but rather moves around the brain as various regions are brought to bear on certain tasks or problems. That to me suggests the brain itself creates the mind, that the mind is simply an emergent property of how the brain coordinates activity.

The way I’m reading some of these posts, it’s almost as if the brain is viewed as a filter to the non-material “soul/mind”, thus brain damage is akin to a cracked mirror, the information passed on the soul is in some way warped. Does this basically sum up that position, because I’ve also read some descriptions that would suggest a far less “connected” soul, but that doesn’t really sound like an orthodox view.


“Physical” is just a word we give to a small piece of information that we think we understand, but it is only the surface of the deeper mystery of our being. What is “physical”? It is “matter”. What is matter? Atoms, particles, vibrations, quantum data of which we are only beginning to scratch the surface.

I think most of what we think of is mind and a very fine state of matter. Soul is deeper in the mystery, intangible and yet the truest center of who we are.


My argument against your view is based on common experience and empirical evidence. First off, your view is incomplete as opposed to being completely false. The mind is an emergent property that is derived from a physical brain. In one sense, this means that the mind is a higher level nonphysical effect stemming from a lower level physical cause (the brain). Or better yet…
From book, The Emergent Self, Pg. 189-190

In rejecting such dualisms, we implicitly affirm that the human mind is produced by the human brain and is not a separate element “added to” the brain from outside. This leads to the further conclusion that mental properties are “emergent” in the following sense: they are properties that manifest themselves when the appropriate material constituents are placed in special, highly complex relationships, but these properties are not observable in simpler configurations nor are they derivable from the laws which describe the properties of matter as it behaves in these simpler configurations. Which is to say: mental properties are emergent in the sense that they involve emergent causal powers that are not in evidence in the absence of consciousness.

Some examples of mental properties that aren’t physical properties are certain types of thoughts like mental images and hallucinations. None of these features can be ‘physically’ observed because they lack physical characteristics, but yet we can subjectively experience them via introspection.

And finally, if any reductive materialists thinks that they’ve solved the mind/body problem, which I assume you believe you have since you think the mind is physical, then please demonstrate it by by putting the following into practice:

Finally, the famous physicist Richard Feynman once said if you really want to show you understand how something works, build it. And it is here that we can clearly identify the limits of our knowledge regarding consciousness. I put experienced in quotes earlier because no one knows how to engineer the flow of information into emergent states of first person experience (i.e., sentience). The engineering problem of consciousness remains a great mystery.


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