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The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental
phenomena A phenomenon (; plural phenomena) is an observable fact or event. The term came into its modern philosophical Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, existence, knowledge ...
. Often the term is also identified with the phenomena themselves. These faculties include
thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, reasoning, concept formation, problem solving, and ...

thought
,
imagination Imagination is the ability to produce and simulate novel objects, sensations, and ideas in the mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental Phenomenon, phenomena. Often the term is also identified with the phenomena themselves. ...

imagination
,
memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, r ...

memory
,
will Will may refer to: Common meanings * Will and testament A will or testament is a legal document that expresses a person's ( testator) wishes as to how their property (estate (law), estate) is to be distributed after their death and as to which ...
and sensation. They are responsible for various mental phenomena, like
perception Perception (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...

perception
, pain experience,
belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconsci ...

belief
,
desire Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitude A propositional attitude is a menta ...

desire
,
intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the plan to visit the zoo tomorrow is an example of an intention. The action plan is the ''content'' of the intention while the commitment is the ''at ...
and
emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeasure. There is currentl ...

emotion
. Various overlapping classifications of mental phenomena have been proposed. Important distinctions group them together according to whether they are ''sensory'', ''propositional'', ''intentional'', ''conscious'' or ''occurrent''. Minds were traditionally understood as substances but it is more common in the contemporary perspective to conceive them as
properties Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether phys ...
or capacities possessed by humans and higher animals. Various competing definitions of the exact nature of the mind or mentality have been proposed. ''Epistemic definitions'' focus on the privileged epistemic access the subject has to these states. ''Consciousness-based approaches'' give primacy to the conscious mind and allow unconscious mental phenomena as part of the mind only to the extent that they stand in the right relation to the conscious mind. According to ''intentionality-based approaches'', the power to refer to objects and to represent the
world In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the world ...

world
is the mark of the mental. For ''behaviorism'', whether an entity has a mind only depends on how it behaves in response to external stimuli while ''functionalism'' defines mental states in terms of the causal roles they play. Central questions for the study of mind, like whether other entities besides humans have minds or how the relation between body and mind is to be conceived, are strongly influenced by the choice of one's definition. Mind or mentality is usually contrasted with body, matter or physicality. The issue of the nature of this contrast and specifically the relation between mind and brain is called the mind-body problem. Traditional viewpoints included
dualism Dualism most commonly refers to: * Mind–body dualism, a philosophical view which holds that mental phenomena are, at least in certain respects, not physical phenomena, or that the mind and the body are distinct and separable from one another ** P ...
and
idealism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, l ...

idealism
, which consider the mind to be non-physical. Modern views often center around
physicalism In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about existence Existence is the ability of an entity to interact with physical reality Reality is the sum or aggregate of all that is ...
and functionalism, which hold that the mind is roughly identical with the brain or reducible to physical phenomena such as though dualism and idealism continue to have many supporters. Another question concerns which types of
being In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, ...

being
s are capable of having minds (New Scientist 8 September 2018 p10). For example, whether mind is exclusive to humans, possessed also by some or all
animals Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular Multicellular organisms are organism In biology, an organism (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ὀργανισμός, ''organismos'') is any individual contiguous system that embodies the L ...

animals
, by all , whether it is a strictly definable characteristic at all, or whether mind can also be a property of some types of . Different cultural and religious traditions often use different concepts of mind, resulting in different answers to these questions. Some see mind as a property exclusive to humans whereas others ascribe properties of mind to non-living entities (e.g.
panpsychism In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number o ...
and
animism Animism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it ...

animism
), to animals and to
deities A deity or god is a supernatural The supernatural encompasses supposed phenomena or entities that are not subject to the laws of nature. This term is attributed to non-physical entities, such as angel An angel is a supernatural ...

deities
. Some of the earliest recorded speculations linked mind (sometimes described as identical with
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
or
spirit Spirit may refer to: *Spirit (animating force) In folk belief, spirit is the vitalism , vital principle or animating force within all life , living things. As recently as 1628 and 1633 respectively, both William Harvey and René Descartes st ...
) to theories concerning both
life after death ''Life After Death'' is the second and final studio album packaged in book form, like a photograph album An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc (CD), Phonograph record, vinyl, audio tape, or ano ...

life after death
, and
cosmological Cosmology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appro ...
and
natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of space and time and their contents, including planets, stars, galaxies, and all other forms of matter and ...
order, for example in the doctrines of
Zoroaster Zoroaster (, ; el, Ζωροάστρης, ''Zōroastrēs''), also known as Zarathustra (, ; ae, , ''Zaraθuštra''), Zarathushtra Spitama or Ashu Zarathushtra (Modern fa, زرتشت, ''Zartosht''), was an ancient Iranian Iranian may refer t ...

Zoroaster
,
the Buddha Gautama Buddha, popularly known as the Buddha (also known as Siddhattha Gotama or Siddhārtha Gautama or Buddha Shakyamuni), was an Śramaṇa, ascetic, a religious leader and teacher who lived in History of India#Iron Age (1500 – 200 BC ...

the Buddha
,
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
, and other ancient
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
,
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...
and, later,
Islamic Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", "ah gawd"; see interjection ''Oh, God!'' franchise * ''Oh, ...
and medieval European philosophers. Psychologists such as
Freud Sigmund Freud ( , ; born Sigismund Schlomo Freud; 6 May 1856 – 23 September 1939) was an Austrian neurologist Neurology (from el, νεῦρον (neûron), "string, nerve" and the suffix -logia, "study of") is a branch of medicine Me ...

Freud
and
James James is a common English language surname and given name: * James (name), the typically masculine first name James * James (surname), various people with the last name James James or James City may also refer to: People * King James (disambiguati ...
, and
computer scientists Computer science deals with the theoretical foundations of information, algorithms and the architectures of its computation as well as practical techniques for their application. Computer science is the study of Algorithm, algorithmic proc ...
such as
Turing Alan Mathison Turing (; 23 June 1912 – 7 June 1954) was an English mathematician, computer scientist, logician, cryptanalysis, cryptanalyst, philosopher, and mathematical and theoretical biology, theoretical biologist. Turing was high ...

Turing
developed influential theories about the nature of the mind. The possibility of nonbiological minds is explored in the field of
artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, ...

artificial intelligence
, which works closely in relation with
cybernetics Cybernetics is a wide-ranging field concerned with regulatory and purposive systems. The core concept of cybernetics is circular causality or feedback—where the observed outcomes of actions are taken as inputs for further action in ways that ...

cybernetics
and
information theory Information theory is the scientific study of the quantification, storage, and communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer to the painful divisions between ...
to understand the ways in which information processing by nonbiological machines is comparable or different to mental phenomena in the human mind. The mind is also sometimes portrayed as the
stream of consciousness In literary criticism Literary criticism (or literary studies) is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature Literature broadly is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings spe ...
where sense impressions and mental phenomena are constantly changing.


Etymology

The original meaning of
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
'' gemynd'' was the faculty of
memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, r ...

memory
, not of thought in general. Hence ''call to mind'', ''come to mind'', ''keep in mind'', ''to have mind of'', etc. The word retains this sense in Scotland.
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventu ...
had other words to express "mind", such as '' hyge'' "mind, spirit". The meaning of "memory" is shared with
Old Norse Old Norse, Old Nordic, or Old Scandinavian is a stage of development of North Germanic languages, North Germanic dialects before their final divergence into separate Nordic languages. Old Norse was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and t ...
, which has '' munr''. The word is originally from a
PIE A pie is a baked dish which is usually made of a pastry Pastry is a dough of flour, water and shortening (solid fats, including butter) that may be Savoriness, savoury or sweetened. Sweetened pastries are often described as ''Flour confect ...

PIE
verbal root ', meaning "to think, remember", whence also Latin''
mens In , Mens, also known as Mens Bona ( for "Good Mind"), was the of thought, consciousness and the mind, and also of "right-thinking". Her festival was celebrated on June 8. A temple on the in Rome was vowed to Mens in 217 BC on advice from the , a ...

mens
'' "mind", Sanskrit '' '' "mind" and Greek μένος "mind, courage, anger". The generalization of ''mind'' to include all mental faculties, thought, volition, feeling and memory, gradually develops over the 14th and 15th centuries.


Definitions

The mind is often understood as a faculty that manifests itself in mental phenomena like sensation, perception, thinking, reasoning, memory, belief, desire, emotion and motivation. Mind or mentality is usually contrasted with body, matter or physicality. Central to this contrast is the
intuition Intuition is the ability to acquire without recourse to conscious ing. Different fields use the word "intuition" in very different ways, including but not limited to: direct access to unconscious knowledge; unconscious cognition; inner sensing; ...

intuition
that minds exhibit various features not found in and maybe even incompatible with the material universe as described by the
natural sciences Natural science is a Branches of science, branch of science concerned with the description, understanding and prediction of Phenomenon, natural phenomena, based on empirical evidence from observation and experimentation. Mechanisms such as peer ...
. On the traditionally dominant substantialist view associated with
René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinisation of names, Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, Mathematics, mathematician, and scientist who invented analytic geometry, linking the previously sep ...

René Descartes
, minds are defined as independent thinking substances. But it is more common in contemporary philosophy to conceive minds not as substances but as
properties Property (''latin: Res Privata'') in the abstract is what belongs to or with something, whether as an attribute or as a component of said thing. In the context of this article, it is one or more components (rather than attributes), whether phys ...
or capacities possessed by humans and higher animals. Despite this agreement, there is still a lot of difference of opinion concerning what the exact nature of mind is and various competing definitions have been proposed. Philosophical definitions of mind usually proceed not just by listing various types of phenomena belonging to the mind but by searching the "mark of the mental": a feature that is shared by all mental states and only by mental states. ''Epistemic approaches'' define mental states in terms of the privileged epistemic access the subject has to these states. This is often combined with a ''consciousness-based approach'', which emphasizes the primacy of consciousness in relation to mind. ''Intentionality-based approaches'', on the other hand, see the power of minds to refer to objects and represent the
world In its most general sense, the term "world" refers to the totality of entities, to the whole of reality or to everything that is. The nature of the world has been conceptualized differently in different fields. Some conceptions see the world ...

world
as being a certain way as the ''mark of the mental''. According to ''behaviorism'', whether an entity has a mind only depends on how it behaves in response to external stimuli while ''functionalism'' defines mental states in terms of the causal roles they play. The differences between these diverse approaches are substantial since they result in very different answers to questions like whether animals or computers have minds. There is a great variety of mental states. They fall into categories like sensory and non-sensory or conscious and unconscious. Various of the definitions listed above excel for states from one category but struggle to account for why states from another category are also part of the mind. This has led some theorists to doubt that there is a ''mark of the mental''. So maybe the term "mind" just refers to a cluster of loosely related ideas that do not share one unifying feature. Some theorists have responded to this by narrowing their definitions of mind to "higher" intellectual faculties, like thinking, reasoning and memory. Others try to be as inclusive as possible regarding "lower" intellectual faculties, like sensing and emotion. In popular usage, ''mind'' is frequently synonymous with ''thought'': the private conversation with ourselves that we carry on "inside our heads". Thus we "make up our minds", "change our minds" or are "of two minds" about something. One of the key attributes of the mind in this sense is that it is a private sphere to which no one but the owner has access. No one else can "know our mind". They can only interpret what we consciously or unconsciously communicate.


Epistemic and consciousness-based approaches

''
Epistemic Epistemology (; ) is the branch of philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, ...
approaches'' emphasize that the subject has privileged access to all or at least some of their mental states. It is sometimes claimed that this access is ''direct'', ''private'' and ''infallible''. ''Direct access'' refers to non-inferential knowledge. When someone is in pain, for example, they know directly that they are in pain, they do not need to infer it from other indicators like a body part being swollen or their tendency to scream when it is touched. But we arguably also have non-inferential knowledge of external objects, like trees or cats, through perception, which is why this criterion by itself is not sufficient. Another epistemic privilege often mentioned is that mental states are ''private'' in contrast to ''public'' external facts. For example, the fallen tree lying on a person's leg is directly open to perception by the bystanders while the victim's pain is private: only they know it directly while the bystanders have to infer it from their screams. It was traditionally often claimed that we have infallible knowledge of our own mental states, i.e. that we cannot be wrong about them when we have them. So when someone has an itching sensation, for example, they cannot be wrong about having this sensation. They can only be wrong about the non-mental causes, e.g. whether it is the consequence of bug bites or of a fungal infection. But various counterexamples have been presented to claims of infallibility, which is why this criterion is usually not accepted in contemporary philosophy. One problem for all ''epistemic approaches'' to the ''mark of the mental'' is that they focus mainly on
conscious , an English Paracelsian Paracelsianism (also Paracelsism; German: ') was an early modern History of medicine, medical movement based on the theories and therapies of Paracelsus. It developed in the second half of the 16th century, during the ...
states but exclude
unconscious Unconscious may refer to: Physiology * Unconsciousness, the lack of consciousness or responsiveness to people and other environmental stimuli Psychology * Unconscious mind, the mind operating well outside the attention of the conscious mind as ...
states. A repressed
desire Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitude A propositional attitude is a menta ...

desire
, for example, is a mental state to which the subject lacks the forms of privileged epistemic access mentioned. One way to respond to this worry is to ascribe a privileged status to conscious mental states. On such a ''consciousness-based approach'', conscious mental states are non-derivative constituents of the mind while unconscious states somehow depend on their conscious counterparts for their existence. An influential example of this position is due to
John Searle John Rogers Searle (; born July 31, 1932) is an American philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysic ...

John Searle
, who holds that unconscious mental states have to be accessible to consciousness to count as "mental" at all. They can be understood as dispositions to bring about conscious states. This position denies that the so-called "deep unconscious", i.e. mental contents inaccessible to consciousness, exists. Another problem for ''consciousness-based approaches'', besides the issue of accounting for the unconscious mind, is to elucidate the nature of consciousness itself. Consciousness-based approaches are usually interested in '' phenomenal consciousness'', i.e. in qualitative experience, rather than '' access consciousness'', which refers to information being available for reasoning and guiding behavior. Conscious mental states are normally characterized as qualitative and subjective, i.e. that there is something it is like for a subject to be in these states. Opponents of consciousness-based approaches often point out that despite these attempts, it is still very unclear what the term "phenomenal consciousness" is supposed to mean. This is important because not much would be gained theoretically by defining one ill-understood term in terms of another. Another objection to this type of approach is to deny that the conscious mind has a privileged status in relation to the unconscious mind, for example, by insisting that the deep unconscious exists.


Intentionality-based approaches

''Intentionality-based approaches'' see
intentionality ''Intentionality'' is the power of minds to be about something: to represent or to stand for things, properties and states of affairs. Intentionality is primarily ascribed to mental states, like perceptions, beliefs or desires, which is why it has ...
as the ''mark of the mental''. The originator of this approach is
Franz Brentano Franz Clemens Honoratus Hermann Josef Brentano (; ; 16 January 1838 – 17 March 1917) was an influential German philosopher, psychologist, and Catholic priest whose work strongly influenced not only students Edmund Husserl, Sigmund Freud Si ...
, who defined intentionality as the characteristic of mental states to refer to or be about objects. One central idea for this approach is that minds represent the world around them, which is not the case for regular physical objects. So a person who believes that there is ice cream in the fridge represents the world as being a certain way. The ice cream can be represented but it does not itself represent the world. This is why a mind is ascribed to the person but not to the ice cream, according to the intentional approach. One advantage of it in comparison to the ''epistemic approach'' is that it has no problems to account for unconscious mental states: they can be intentional just like conscious mental states and thereby qualify as constituents of the mind. But a problem for this approach is that there are also some non-mental entities that have intentionality, like maps or linguistic expressions. One response to this problem is to hold that the intentionality of non-mental entities is somehow derivative in relation to the intentionality of mental entities. For example, a map of Addis Ababa may be said to represent Addis Ababa not intrinsically but only extrinsically because people ''interpret'' it as a representation. Another difficulty is that not all mental states seem to be intentional. So while
beliefs A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use the term "belief" to refer to attitudes about the world which can be either tru ...
and
desires Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitude A propositional attitude is a mental ...

desires
are forms of representation, this seems not to be the case for pains and itches, which may ''indicate'' a problem without ''representing'' it. But some theorists have argued that even these apparent counterexamples should be considered intentional when properly understood.


Behaviorism and functionalism

''
Behaviorist Behaviorism is a systematic approach to understanding the behavior of humans and other animals. It assumes that behavior is either a reflex In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their ...
'' definitions characterize mental states as dispositions to engage in certain publicly observable behavior as a reaction to particular external stimuli. On this view, to ascribe a belief to someone is to describe the tendency of this person to behave in certain ways. Such an ascription does not involve any claims about the internal states of this person, it only talks about behavioral tendencies. A strong motivation for such a position comes from empiricist considerations stressing the importance of observation and the lack thereof in the case of private internal mental states. This is sometimes combined with the thesis that we could not even learn how to use mental terms without reference to the behavior associated with them. One problem for behaviorism is that the same entity often behaves differently despite being in the same situation as before. This suggests that explanation needs to make reference to the internal states of the entity that mediate the link between stimulus and response. This problem is avoided by functionalist approaches, which define mental states through their causal roles but allow both external and internal events in their causal network. On this view, the definition of pain-state may include aspects such as being in a state that "tends to be caused by bodily injury, to produce the belief that something is wrong with the body and ... to cause wincing or moaning". One important aspect of both behaviorist and functionalist approaches is that, according to them, the mind is '' multiply realizable''. This means that it does not depend on the exact constitution of an entity for whether it has a mind or not. Instead, only its behavioral dispositions or its role in the causal network matter. The entity in question may be a human, an animal, a silicon-based alien or a robot. Functionalists sometimes draw an analogy to the software-hardware distinction where the mind is likened to a certain type of software that can be installed on different forms of hardware. Closely linked to this analogy is the thesis of
computationalism In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number o ...
, which defines the mind as an information processing system that is physically implemented by the neural activity of the brain. One problem for all of these views is that they seem to be unable to account for the phenomenal consciousness of the mind emphasized by ''consciousness-based approaches''. It may be true that pains are caused by bodily injuries and themselves produce certain beliefs and moaning behavior. But the causal profile of pain remains silent on the intrinsic unpleasantness of the painful experience itself. Some states that are not painful to the subject at all may even fit these characterizations.


Forms of mind


Mental faculties

Broadly speaking, mental faculties are the various functions of the mind, or things the mind can "do".
Thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, reasoning, concept formation, problem solving, an ...

Thought
is a mental act that allows humans to make sense of things in the world, and to represent and interpret them in ways that are significant, or which accord with their needs, attachments, goals, commitments, plans, ends, desires, etc. Thinking involves the
symbol A symbol is a mark, sign, or word In linguistics, a word of a spoken language can be defined as the smallest sequence of phonemes that can be uttered in isolation with semantic, objective or pragmatics, practical meaning (linguistics), m ...

symbol
ic or
semiotic Semiotics (also called semiotic studies) is the study of sign processes (semiosis), which are any activity, conduct, or process that involves Sign (semiotics), signs, where a sign is defined as anything that communicates something, usually called ...
mediation of
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philoso ...

idea
s or data, as when we form
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
s, engage in
problem solving Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * L ...

problem solving
, reasoning, and making . Words that refer to similar concepts and processes include
deliberation Deliberation is a process of thoughtfully weighing options, usually prior to voting. Deliberation emphasizes the use of logic and reason as opposed to power-struggle, creativity, or dialogue. Group decision-making, Group decisions are generally ma ...
,
cognition Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: attention, the formation of ...
,
idea In common usage and in philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about reason, Metaphysics, existence, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philoso ...

idea
tion,
discourse Discourse is a generalization of the notion of a conversation Conversation is interactive communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy) ...

discourse
and
imagination Imagination is the ability to produce and simulate novel objects, sensations, and ideas in the mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental Phenomenon, phenomena. Often the term is also identified with the phenomena themselves. ...

imagination
. Thinking is sometimes described as a "higher"
cognitive Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual function Intellectual functioning refers to the "general ment ...

cognitive
function and the analysis of thinking processes is a part of
cognitive psychology Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intelle ...
. It is also deeply connected with our capacity to make and use
tools A tool is an object that can extend an individual's ability to modify features of the surrounding environment. Although many animals use tool use by animals, simple tools, only human beings, whose use of stone tools dates back Paleolithic, hund ...

tools
; to understand
cause and effect Causality (also referred to as causation, or cause and effect) is influence by which one event, process, state or object (a ''cause'') contributes to the production of another event, process, state or object (an ''effect'') where the cause is ...
; to recognize patterns of significance; to comprehend and
disclose Disclose were a Japanese punk rock band from Kōchi, Kōchi, Kōchi City, heavily influenced by Discharge (band), Discharge. Their sound heavily replicates Discharge's style, with an increased use of fuzz and distortion guitar effects. The subje ...
unique contexts of experience or activity; and to respond to the world in a meaningful way.
Memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, r ...

Memory
is the ability to preserve, retain and subsequently recall knowledge, information, or experience. Although memory has traditionally been a persistent theme in
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries also saw the study of memory emerge as a subject of inquiry within the paradigms of
cognitive psychology Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intelle ...
. In recent decades, it has become one of the pillars of a new branch of science called
cognitive neuroscience Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific field that is concerned with the study of the biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowle ...
, a marriage between
cognitive psychology Cognitive psychology is the scientific study of mental process Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intelle ...
and
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
.
Imagination Imagination is the ability to produce and simulate novel objects, sensations, and ideas in the mind The mind is the set of faculties responsible for mental Phenomenon, phenomena. Often the term is also identified with the phenomena themselves. ...

Imagination
is the activity of generating or evoking novel situations,
image An image (from la, imago) is an artifact that depicts visual perception Visual perception is the ability to interpret the surrounding environment Environment most often refers to: __NOTOC__ * Natural environment, all living and non- ...

image
s, ideas or other
qualia In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of that studies the and nature of the and its relationship with the body. The is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number of other issues are addressed, such as the ...
in the mind. It is a characteristically
subjective Subjective may refer to: * Subjectivity, a subject's personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view ** Subjective experience, the subjective quality of consciou ...
''activity'', rather than a direct or passive experience. The term is technically used in
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
for the process of reviving in the mind of objects formerly given in sense perception. Since this use of the term conflicts with that of ordinary
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
, some psychologists have preferred to describe this process as "
imaging Imaging is the representation or reproduction of an object's form; especially a visual representation (i.e., the formation of an image). Imaging technology is the application of materials and methods to create, preserve, or duplicate images. I ...
" or "wikt:Imagery, imagery" or to speak of it as "reproductive" as opposed to "productive" or "constructive" imagination. Things imagined are said to be seen in the "mind's eye". Among the many practical functions of imagination are the ability to project possible futures (or histories), to "see" things from another's perspective, and to change the way something is perceived, including to make decisions to respond to, or enact, what is imagined. Consciousness in mammals (this includes humans) is an aspect of the mind generally thought to comprise qualities such as subjectivity, sentience, and the ability to perception, perceive the relationship between Personal identity, oneself and one's environment (biophysical), environment. It is a subject of much research in philosophy of mind,
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
,
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
, and cognitive science. Some philosophers divide consciousness into phenomenal consciousness, which is subjective experience itself, and access consciousness, which refers to the global availability of information to processing systems in the brain.Ned Block: "On a Confusion about a Function of Consciousness" in: ''The Behavioral and Brain Sciences'', 1995. Phenomenal consciousness has many different experienced qualities, often referred to as
qualia In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of that studies the and nature of the and its relationship with the body. The is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number of other issues are addressed, such as the ...
. Phenomenal consciousness is usually consciousness ''of'' something or ''about'' something, a property known as
intentionality ''Intentionality'' is the power of minds to be about something: to represent or to stand for things, properties and states of affairs. Intentionality is primarily ascribed to mental states, like perceptions, beliefs or desires, which is why it has ...
in philosophy of mind.


Categories of mental phenomena

The mental phenomena brought about by the faculties of the mind have been categorized according to various distinctions. Important distinctions group mental phenomena together according to whether they are ''sensory'', ''qualitative'', ''propositional'', ''intentional'', ''conscious'', ''occurrent'' or ''rational''. These different distinctions result in overlapping categorizations. Some mental phenomena, like perception or bodily awareness, are ''sensory'', i.e. based on the senses. These phenomena are of special interest to empiricism, empiricists, who hold that they are our only source of knowledge about the external world. They are contrasted with ''non-sensory'' phenomena like thoughts or beliefs, which do not involve sense impressions. Sensory states are closely related to ''qualitative states'', which have
qualia In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of that studies the and nature of the and its relationship with the body. The is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number of other issues are addressed, such as the ...
and are therefore associated with a subjective feeling of what it is like to be in this state. Sensory and qualitative states are often contrasted with ''Propositional attitude, propositional states'', which are sometimes said to be non-sensory and non-qualitative. Propositional states involve attitudes, like
belief A belief is an attitude Attitude may refer to: Philosophy and psychology * Attitude (psychology) In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconsci ...

belief
or
desire Desires are states of mind that are expressed by terms like "wanting", "wishing", "longing" or "craving". A great variety of features is commonly associated with desires. They are seen as propositional attitude A propositional attitude is a menta ...

desire
, which a subject has towards a proposition. One problem with this contrast is that some propositional attitudes may have a subjective feeling to them, which would make them qualitative phenomena. This is the case, for example, when actively desiring something. Another problem with this contrast is that some mental phenomena, like perceptions, are both sensory and propositional. Propositional attitudes are ''Intentionality, intentional states'', which have as their characteristic that they refer to or are about objects or states of affairs. Some philosophers see intentionality as the mark of the mental, i.e. as what is shared by all and only by mental phenomena. Opponents of this position have argued that there are various mental phenomena, like pains and itches, that lack the representational aspect associated with intentionality and therefore count as non-intentional. This claim is sometimes even extended to all sensory phenomena. It sometimes held that all intentional states are propositional. While this is true for the paradigmatic cases, it has been argued that there is a form of object-directed intentionality, like the fear of snakes, that does not involve propositional attitudes, like the fear that one will be bitten by snakes. Another important distinction among mental states is whether they are ''
conscious , an English Paracelsian Paracelsianism (also Paracelsism; German: ') was an early modern History of medicine, medical movement based on the theories and therapies of Paracelsus. It developed in the second half of the 16th century, during the ...
'' or not. Often two types of consciousness are distinguished: ''Consciousness#Types of consciousness, phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness''. ''Phenomenal consciousness'' refers to actual experience. A common view is that some states, like sensations or pains, are necessarily associated with phenomenal consciousness while other states, like beliefs and desires, can be present both with and without phenomenal consciousness. According to some views, conscious mental states are more basic while unconscious states only count as mental if they can arise in phenomenal consciousness. ''Access consciousness'', on the other hand, refers to mental states that are accessible: they carry information that is available for reasoning and guiding behavior. This notion is closely related to ''occurrent mental states'', which are not just accessible but also currently active or causally efficacious within the owner's mind. All phenomenally conscious mental states are occurrent but there may also be unconscious occurrent states, like repressed desires, that influence our behavior. Occurrent mental states contrast with ''standing'' or ''dispositional mental states'', which are part of the subject's mind even though they currently play no role in it. Mental phenomena are ''rational'' if they are well justified or obey the norms of rationality. ''Irrational mental phenomena'', on the other hand, violate these norms. But not all mental phenomena are rationally evaluable: some are ''arationality, arational'' and exist outside the domain of rationality. They include urges, dizziness or hunger while beliefs and
intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the plan to visit the zoo tomorrow is an example of an intention. The action plan is the ''content'' of the intention while the commitment is the ''at ...
s are the paradigmatic examples of rationally evaluable states. Some hold that rationality depends only on structural principles that govern how different mental states should relate to each other while others define rationality in terms of responding correctly to reasons.


Mental contents

Mental contents are those items that are thought of as being "in" the mind, and capable of being formed and manipulated by mental processes and faculties. Examples include
thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, reasoning, concept formation, problem solving, and ...

thought
s,
concept Concepts are defined as abstract ideas A mental representation (or cognitive representation), in philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the bo ...

concept
s, memories,
emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeasure. There is currentl ...

emotion
s, percepts and
intention Intentions are mental states in which the agent commits themselves to a course of action. Having the plan to visit the zoo tomorrow is an example of an intention. The action plan is the ''content'' of the intention while the commitment is the ''at ...
s. Philosophical theories of mental content include internalism, externalism, direct and indirect realism, representationalism and
intentionality ''Intentionality'' is the power of minds to be about something: to represent or to stand for things, properties and states of affairs. Intentionality is primarily ascribed to mental states, like perceptions, beliefs or desires, which is why it has ...
. Memetics is a theory of mental content based on an analogy with Darwinian evolution, which was originated by Richard Dawkins and Douglas Hofstadter in the 1980s. It is an evolutionary model of cultural information transfer. A meme, analogous to a gene, is an idea, belief, pattern of behaviour (etc.) "hosted" in one or more individual minds, and can reproduce itself from mind to mind. Thus what would otherwise be regarded as one individual influencing another to adopt a belief, is seen memetically as a meme reproducing itself.


Relation to the brain

In animals, the brain, or ''encephalon'' (Greek (language), Greek for "in the head"), is the control center of the central nervous system, responsible for
thought In their most common sense, the terms thought and thinking refer to conscious cognitive processes that can happen independently of sensory stimulation. Their most paradigmatic forms are judging, reasoning, concept formation, problem solving, and ...

thought
. In most animals, the brain is located in the head, protected by the skull and close to the primary sensory apparatus of Visual perception, vision, Hearing (sense), hearing, equilibrioception, taste and olfaction. While all vertebrates have a brain, most invertebrates have either a centralized brain or collections of individual ganglion, ganglia. Primitive animals such as sponges do not have a brain at all. Brains can be extremely complex. For example, the human brain contains around 86 billion neurons, each linked to as many as 10,000 others. Understanding the relationship between the brain and the mind –the mind–body problem – is one of the central issues in the history of
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
, a challenging problem both philosophically and scientifically. There are three major philosophical schools of thought concerning the answer: dualism, materialism, and idealism. Dualism (philosophy of mind), Dualism holds that the mind exists independently of the brain; materialism holds that mental phenomena are identical to neuronal phenomena;A.R. Lacey, ''A Dictionary of Philosophy'', 1996 and idealism (philosophy), idealism holds that only mental phenomena exist. Through most of history many philosophers found it inconceivable that cognition could be implemented by a physical substance such as brain tissue (that is neurons and synapses). Descartes, who thought extensively about mind-brain relationships, found it possible to explain reflexes and other simple behaviors in The Description of the Human Body, mechanistic terms, although he did not believe that complex thought, and language in particular, could be explained by reference to the physical brain alone. The most straightforward scientific evidence of a strong relationship between the physical brain matter and the mind is the impact physical alterations to the brain have on the mind, such as with traumatic brain injury and psychoactive drug use. Philosopher Patricia Churchland notes that this drug-mind interaction indicates an intimate connection between the brain and the mind. In addition to the philosophical questions, the relationship between mind and brain involves a number of scientific questions, including understanding the relationship between mental activity and brain activity, the exact mechanisms by which drugs influence
cognition Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: attention, the formation of ...
, and the neural correlates of consciousness. Theoretical approaches to explain how mind emerges from the brain include connectionism,
computationalism In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the ontology and nature of the mind and its relationship with the body. The mind–body problem is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number o ...
and Bayesian brain.


Evolution

The evolution of human intelligence refers to several theories that aim to describe how human intelligence has evolution, evolved in relation to the evolution of the human brain and the origin of language. The timeline of human evolution spans some 7 million years, from the separation of the genus ''Pan (genus), Pan'' until the emergence of behavioral modernity by 50,000 years ago. Of this timeline, the first 3 million years concern ''Sahelanthropus tchadensis, Sahelanthropus'', the following 2 million concern ''Australopithecus'', while the final 2 million span the history of actual ''Homo (genus), Homo'' species (the Paleolithic). Many traits of human intelligence, such as empathy, theory of mind, mourning, ritual, and the use of Great ape language, symbols and tools, are already apparent in great apes although in lesser sophistication than in humans. There is a debate between supporters of the idea of a sudden emergence of intelligence, or "Behavioural modernity#Great leap forward, Great leap forward" and those of a gradual or Behavioural modernity#Continuum hypothesis, continuum hypothesis. Theories of the evolution of intelligence include: * Robin Dunbar's social brain hypothesis * Geoffrey Miller (psychologist), Geoffrey Miller's sexual selection hypothesis concerning Sexual selection in human evolution * The ecological dominance-social competition (EDSC) explained by Mark V. Flinn, David C. Geary and Carol V. Ward based mainly on work by Richard D. Alexander. * The idea of intelligence as a signal of good health and resistance to disease. * The Group selection theory contends that organism characteristics that provide benefits to a group (clan, tribe, or larger population) can evolve despite individual disadvantages such as those cited above. * The idea that intelligence is connected with nutrition, and thereby with status. A higher IQ could be a signal that an individual comes from and lives in a physical and social environment where nutrition levels are high, and vice versa.


Philosophy

Philosophy of mind is the branch of
philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questions, such as those about Metaphysics, existence, reason, Epistemology, knowledge, Ethics, values, Philosophy of mind, mind, and Philosophy of language, language. Such questio ...

philosophy
that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental property, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body. The ''mind–body problem'', i.e. the relationship of the mind to the body, is commonly seen as the central issue in philosophy of mind, although there are other issues concerning the nature of the mind that do not involve its relation to the physical body. José Manuel Rodriguez Delgado writes, "In present popular usage, soul and mind are not clearly differentiated and some people, more or less consciously, still feel that the soul, and perhaps the mind, may enter or leave the body as independent entities." ''Dualism (philosophy of mind), Dualism'' and ''monism'' are the two major schools of thought that attempt to resolve the mind–body problem. Dualism is the position that mind and body are in some way separate from each other. It can be traced back to
Plato Plato ( ; grc-gre, Πλάτων ; 428/427 or 424/423 – 348/347 BC) was an Athenian , image_skyline = File:Athens Montage L.png, center, 275px, alt=Athens montage. Clicking on an image in the picture causes the ...

Plato
,
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental quest ...

Aristotle
Robinson, H. (1983): ‘Aristotelian dualism’, Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy 1, 123–44. and the Nyaya, Samkhya and Yoga schools of Hinduism, Hindu philosophy, but it was most precisely formulated by
René Descartes René Descartes ( or ; ; Latinisation of names, Latinized: Renatus Cartesius; 31 March 1596 – 11 February 1650) was a French philosopher, Mathematics, mathematician, and scientist who invented analytic geometry, linking the previously sep ...

René Descartes
in the 17th century. ''Dualism (philosophy of mind), Substance dualists'' argue that the mind is an independently existing substance, whereas ''Property dualism, Property dualists'' maintain that the mind is a group of independent properties that emergentism, emerge from and cannot be reduced to the brain, but that it is not a distinct substance.Hart, W.D. (1996) "Dualism", in Samuel Guttenplan (org) ''A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind'', Blackwell, Oxford, 265–267. The 20th century philosopher Martin Heidegger suggested that subjective experience and activity (i.e. the "mind") cannot be made sense of in terms of Descartes, Cartesian "substances" that bear "properties" at all (whether the mind itself is thought of as a distinct, separate kind of substance or not). This is because the nature of subjective, ''qualitative'' experience is incoherent in terms of – or semantically Commensurability (philosophy of science), incommensurable with the concept of – substances that bear properties. This is a fundamentally ontology, ontological argument. The philosopher of cognitive science Daniel Dennett, for example, argues there is no such thing as a narrative center called the "mind", but that instead there is simply a collection of sensory inputs and outputs: different kinds of "software" running in parallel. Psychologist B.F. Skinner argued that the mind is an explanatory fiction that diverts attention from environmental causes of behavior; he considered the mind a "black box" and thought that mental processes may be better conceived of as forms of covert verbal behavior. Philosopher David Chalmers has argued that the third person approach to uncovering mind and consciousness is not effective, such as looking into other's brains or observing human conduct, but that a first person approach is necessary. Such a first person perspective indicates that the mind must be conceptualized as something distinct from the brain. The mind has also been described as manifesting from moment to moment, one thought moment at a time as a fast flowing stream, where sense impressions and mental phenomena are constantly changing.


Relation to the body

''Monism'' is the position that mind and body are not physiology, physiologically and ontologically distinct kinds of entities. This view was first advocated in Western Philosophy by Parmenides in the 5th Century BC and was later espoused by the 17th Century Rationalism, rationalist Baruch Spinoza.Spinoza, Baruch (1670) ''Tractatus Theologico-Politicus'' (A Theologico-Political Treatise). According to Spinoza's dual-aspect theory, mind and body are two aspects of an underlying reality which he variously described as "Nature" or "God". * ''Physicalism, Physicalists'' argue that only the entities postulated by physical theory exist, and that the mind will eventually be explained in terms of these entities as physical theory continues to evolve. * ''idealism (philosophy), Idealists'' maintain that the mind is all that exists and that the external world is either mental itself, or an illusion created by the mind. * ''neutral monism, Neutral monists'' adhere to the position that perceived things in the world can be regarded as either physical or mental depending on whether one is interested in their relationship to other things in the world or their relationship to the perceiver. For example, a red spot on a wall is physical in its dependence on the wall and the pigment of which it is made, but it is mental in so far as its perceived redness depends on the workings of the visual system. Unlike dual-aspect theory, neutral monism does not posit a more fundamental substance of which mind and body are aspects. The most common monisms in the 20th and 21st centuries have all been variations of physicalism; these positions include behaviorism, the type physicalism, type identity theory, anomalous monism and functionalism (philosophy of mind), functionalism.Kim, J., "Mind-Body Problem", ''Oxford Companion to Philosophy''. Ted Honderich (ed.). Oxford:Oxford University Press. 1995. Many modern philosophers of mind adopt either a ''reductive'' or ''non-reductive physicalist'' position, maintaining in their different ways that the mind is not something separate from the body. These approaches have been particularly influential in the sciences, e.g. in the fields of sociobiology, computer science, evolutionary psychology and the various
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
s.Pinel, J. ''Psychobiology'', (1990) Prentice Hall, Inc. LeDoux, J. (2002) ''The Synaptic Self: How Our Brains Become Who We Are'', New York: Viking Penguin. Dawkins, R. ''The Selfish Gene'' (1976) Oxford:Oxford University Press. Other philosophers, however, adopt a non-physicalist position which challenges the notion that the mind is a purely physical construct. * ''Reductive physicalists'' assert that all mental states and properties will eventually be explained by scientific accounts of physiological processes and states. * ''Non-reductive physicalists'' argue that although the brain is all there ''is'' to the mind, the predicates and vocabulary used in mental descriptions and explanations are indispensable, and cannot be reduced to the language and lower-level explanations of physical science.Putnam, Hilary (1967). "Psychological Predicates", in W.H. Capitan and D.D. Merrill, eds., ''Art, Mind and Religion'' Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Continued progress in
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
has helped to clarify many of these issues, and its findings have been taken by many to support Physicalism, physicalists' assertions. Nevertheless, our knowledge is incomplete, and modern philosophers of mind continue to discuss how subjective
qualia In philosophy of mind Philosophy of mind is a branch of that studies the and nature of the and its relationship with the body. The is a paradigmatic issue in philosophy of mind, although a number of other issues are addressed, such as the ...
and the intentional stance, intentional mental states can be naturalism (philosophy), naturally explained. Then, of course, there is the problem of Quantum Mechanics, which can be understood as a form of perspectivism. Though the so called "Copenhagen Interpretation" is not unilaterally accepted, and an exact mechanism in the collapse of the wavefunction remains elusive. So, the role and emergence of mind in fundamental physical theory still is unclear.


Scientific study


Neuroscience

Neuroscience studies the nervous system, the physical basis of the mind. At the systems level, neuroscientists investigate how biological neural networks form and physiologically interact to produce mental functions and content such as reflexes, multisensory integration, motor coordination, circadian rhythms, emotion, emotional responses, learning, and
memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, r ...

memory
. The underlying physical basis of learning and
memory Memory is the faculty of the by which or is , stored, and retrieved when needed. It is the retention of information over time for the purpose of influencing future action. If s could not be remembered, it would be impossible for language, r ...

memory
is likely dynamic changes in gene expression that occur in brain neurons. Such expression changes are introduced by epigenetics, epigenetic mechanisms. Epigenetics, Epigenetic regulation of gene expression ordinarily involves chemical modification of DNA or DNA-associated histone proteins. Such chemical modifications can cause long-lasting changes in gene expression. Epigenetic mechanisms employed in learning and memory include the DNA (cytosine-5)-methyltransferase 3A, DNMT3A promoted DNA methylation, methylation and TET enzymes, TET promoted DNA demethylation, demethylation of neuronal DNA as well as histone methylation, methylation, histone acetylation and deacetylation, acetylation and deacetylation of neuronal histone proteins. Also, long term excitation of neural pathways and subsequent endocrinal signaling, can provide a capacity for structural activation of gene expression in the histone code; allowing a potential mechanism of throughput epigenetic interaction with the nervous system. At a larger scale, efforts in computational neuroscience have developed large-scale models that simulate simple, functioning brains. As of 2012, such models include the thalamus, basal ganglia, prefrontal cortex, motor cortex, and occipital cortex, and consequentially simulated brains can learn, respond to visual stimuli, coordinate motor responses, form short-term memories, and learn to respond to patterns. Currently, researchers aim to program the hippocampus and limbic system, hypothetically imbuing the simulated mind with long-term memory and crude
emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeasure. There is currentl ...

emotion
s. By contrast, affective neuroscience studies the neural mechanisms of personality psychology, personality,
emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeasure. There is currentl ...

emotion
, and mood (psychology), mood primarily through experimental tasks.


Cognitive science

Cognitive science examines the mental functions that give rise to information processing, termed
cognition Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: attention, the formation of ...
. These include
perception Perception (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...

perception
, attention, working memory, long-term memory, producing and understanding
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...

language
, learning, reasoning,
problem solving Problem solving consists of using generic or ad hoc Ad hoc is a Latin phrase __NOTOC__ This is a list of Wikipedia articles of Latin phrases and their translation into English. To view all phrases on a single, lengthy document, see: * L ...

problem solving
, and decision making. Cognitive science seeks to understand thinking "in terms of representational structures in the mind and computational procedures that operate on those structures".Thagard, Paul
Cognitive Science
The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2008 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.).
Though the interface between
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
and an exact model of
cognition Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: attention, the formation of ...
is yet not made, progress in biological neuron models help to mathematically quantify
cognitive neuroscience Cognitive neuroscience is the scientific field that is concerned with the study of the biological Biology is the natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowle ...
; and elaborate a theory of mind that can be provable. However a theoretically fundamental synthesis in psychology, cognitive science, neuroscience, and biophysics must made; for the problem of mind and its faculties to gain tractable scientific ground.


Psychology

Psychology is the scientific study of human behavior, mental functioning, and experience. As both an Academic field, academic and applied science, applied discipline, Psychology involves the science, scientific study of mental processes such as
perception Perception (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...

perception
,
cognition Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: attention, the formation of ...
,
emotion Emotions are mental state, psychological states brought on by neurophysiology, neurophysiological changes, variously associated with thoughts, feelings, behavioural responses, and a degree of pleasure or suffering, displeasure. There is currentl ...

emotion
, Personality psychology, personality, as well as environmental influences, such as social and cultural influences, and interpersonal relationships, in order to devise theories of human behavior. Psychological patterns can be understood as low cost ways of information processing. Psychology also refers to the application of such knowledge to various spheres of Human behavior, human activity, including problems of individuals' everyday life, daily lives and the treatment of mental health problems. Psychology differs from the other social sciences (e.g. anthropology, economics, political science, and sociology) due to its focus on experimentation at the scale of the individual, or individuals in small groups as opposed to group (sociology), large groups, institutions or societies. Historically, psychology differed from biology and
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
in that it was primarily concerned with mind rather than brain. Modern psychological science incorporates Psychophysiology, physiological and neuropsychology, neurological processes into its conceptions of
perception Perception (from the Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the powe ...

perception
,
cognition Cognition () refers to "the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses". It encompasses many aspects of intellectual functions and processes such as: attention, the formation of ...
, behaviour, and mental disorders.


Mental health

By analogy with the health of the body, one can speak metaphorically of a state of health of the mind, or mental health. Merriam-Webster defines mental health as "a state of emotional and psychological well-being in which an individual is able to use his or her cognitive and emotional capabilities, function in society, and meet the ordinary demands of everyday life". According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined. In general, most experts agree that "mental health" and "mental disorder" are not opposites. In other words, the absence of a recognized mental disorder is not necessarily an indicator of mental health. One way to think about mental health is by looking at how effectively and successfully a person functions. Feeling capable and competent; being able to handle normal levels of stress, maintaining satisfying relationships, and leading an independent life; and being able to "bounce back" or recover from difficult situations, are all signs of mental health. Psychotherapy is an interpersonal, Interpersonal relationship, relational intervention used by trained psychotherapists to aid wikt:Client, clients in problems of living. This usually includes increasing individual sense of well-being and reducing subjective discomforting experience. Psychotherapists employ a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change and that are designed to improve the mental health of a client or patient, or to improve group relationships (such as in a family). Most forms of psychotherapy use only spoken conversation, though some also use various other forms of communication such as the written word, art, drama, narrative story, or therapeutic touch. Psychotherapy occurs within a structured encounter between a trained therapist and client(s). Purposeful, theoretically based psychotherapy began in the 19th century with psychoanalysis; since then, scores of other approaches have been developed and continue to be created.


Non-human


Animal cognition

Animal cognition, or cognitive ethology, is the title given to a modern approach to the mental capacities of animals. It has developed out of comparative psychology, but has also been strongly influenced by the approach of ethology, behavioral ecology, and evolutionary psychology. Much of what used to be considered under the title of "animal intelligence" is now thought of under this heading. Animal language acquisition, attempting to discern or understand the degree to which animal cognition can be revealed by linguistics-related study, has been controversial among cognitive linguistics, cognitive linguists.


Artificial intelligence

In 1950 Alan M. Turing published "Computing machinery and intelligence" in ''Mind (journal), Mind'', in which he proposed that machines could be tested for intelligence using questions and answers. This process is now named the Turing Test. The term Artificial Intelligence (AI) was first used by John McCarthy (computer scientist), John McCarthy who considered it to mean "the science and engineering of making intelligent machines". It can also refer to intelligence (trait), intelligence as exhibited by an artificial (''man-made'', ''non-natural'', ''manufactured'') entity. AI is studied in overlapping fields of computer science,
psychology Psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. ...

psychology
,
neuroscience Neuroscience is the of the . It is a science that combines , , , , , and to understand the fundamental and emergent properties of s, and s. The understanding of the biological basis of , , , , and has been described by as the "epic chal ...

neuroscience
and engineering, dealing with intelligent behavior, learning and adaptation and usually developed using customized machines or computers. Research in AI is concerned with producing machines to automate tasks requiring intelligent behavior. Examples include control system, control, Automated planning and scheduling, planning and scheduling, the ability to answer diagnostic and consumer questions, handwriting recognition, handwriting, natural language, speech recognition, speech and facial recognition system, facial recognition. As such, the study of AI has also become an engineering discipline, focused on providing solutions to real life problems, knowledge mining, software applications, strategy games like computer chess and other video games. One of the biggest limitations of AI is in the domain of actual machine comprehension. Consequentially natural language understanding and connectionism (where behavior of neural networks is investigated) are areas of active research and development. The debate about the nature of the mind is relevant to the development of
artificial intelligence Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence Intelligence has been defined in many ways: the capacity for logic Logic (from Ancient Greek, Greek: grc, wikt:λογική, λογική, label=none, lit=possessed of reason, intellectual, ...

artificial intelligence
. If the mind is indeed a thing separate from or higher than the functioning of the brain, then hypothetically it would be much more difficult to recreate within a machine, if it were possible at all. If, on the other hand, the mind is no more than the aggregated functions of the brain, then it will be possible to create a machine with a recognisable mind (though possibly only with computers much different from today's), by simple virtue of the fact that such a machine already exists in the form of the human brain.


Religion

Many religions associate spiritual qualities to the human mind. These are often tightly connected to their mythology and ideas of afterlife. The Indian philosopher-sage Sri Aurobindo attempted to unite the Eastern and Western psychological traditions with his integral psychology (Sri Aurobindo), integral psychology, as have many philosophers and New religious movements. Judaism teaches that "moach shalit al halev", the mind rules the heart. Humans can approach the Divine intellectually, through learning and behaving according to the Divine Will as enclothed in the Torah, and use that deep logical understanding to elicit and guide emotional arousal during prayer. Christianity has tended to see the mind as distinct from the Soul (spirit), soul (Greek ''nous'') and sometimes further distinguished from the
spirit Spirit may refer to: *Spirit (animating force) In folk belief, spirit is the vitalism , vital principle or animating force within all life , living things. As recently as 1628 and 1633 respectively, both William Harvey and René Descartes st ...
. Esotericism, Western esoteric traditions sometimes refer to a mental body that exists on a plane other than the physical. Hinduism's various philosophical schools have debated whether the human Soul (spirit), soul (Sanskrit ''Atman (Hinduism), atman'') is distinct from, or identical to, ''Brahman'', the divinity, divine reality. Taoism sees the human being as contiguous with natural forces, and the mind as not separate from the Human body, body. Confucianism sees the mind, like the body, as inherently perfectible.


Buddhism

Buddhist teachings explain the moment-to-moment manifestation of the mind-stream. The components that make up the mind are known as the five aggregates (i.e., material form, feelings, perception, volition, and sensory consciousness), which arise and pass away continuously. The arising and passing of these aggregates in the present moment is described as being influenced by five causal laws: biological laws, psychological laws, physical laws, volitional laws, and universal laws. The Buddhist practice of mindfulness involves attending to this constantly changing mind-stream. According to Buddhism, Buddhist philosopher Dharmakirti, the mind has two fundamental qualities: "clarity and cognizes". If something is not those two qualities, it cannot validly be called mind. "Clarity" refers to the fact that mind has no color, shape, size, location, weight, or any other physical characteristic, and "cognizes" that it functions to know or perceive objects. "Knowing" refers to the fact that mind is aware of the contents of experience, and that, in order to exist, mind must be cognizing an object. You cannot have a mind – whose function is to cognize an object – existing without cognizing an object. Mind, in Buddhism, is also described as being "space-like" and "illusion-like". Mind is space-like in the sense that it is not physically obstructive. It has no qualities which would prevent it from existing. In Mahayana Buddhism, mind is illusion-like in the sense that it is empty of inherent existence. This does not mean it does not exist, it means that it exists in a manner that is counter to our ordinary way of misperceiving how phenomena exist, according to Buddhism. When the mind is itself cognized properly, without misperceiving its mode of existence, it appears to exist like an illusion. There is a big difference however between being "space and illusion" and being "space-like" and "illusion-like". Mind is not composed of space, it just shares some descriptive similarities to space. Mind is not an illusion, it just shares some descriptive qualities with illusions. Buddhism posits that there is no inherent, unchanging identity (Inherent I, Inherent Me) or phenomena (Ultimate self, inherent self, Atman, Soul, Self-essence, Jiva, Ishvara, humanness essence, etc.) which is the experiencer of our experiences and the agent of our actions. In other words, human beings consist of merely a body and a mind, and nothing extra. Within the body there is no part or set of parts which is – by itself or themselves – the person. Similarly, within the mind there is no part or set of parts which are themselves "the person". A human being merely consists of five aggregates, or ''skandhas'' and nothing else. In the same way, "mind" is what can be validly conceptually labelled onto our mere experience of clarity and knowing. There is something separate and apart from clarity and knowing which is "Awareness", in Buddhism. "Mind" is that part of experience the sixth sense door, which can be validly referred to as mind by the concept-term "mind". There is also not "objects out there, mind in here, and experience somewhere in-between". There is a third thing called "awareness" which exists being aware of the contents of mind and what mind cognizes. There are five senses (arising of mere experience: shapes, colors, the components of smell, components of taste, components of sound, components of touch) and mind as the sixth institution; this means, expressly, that there can be a third thing called "awareness" and a third thing called "experiencer who is aware of the experience". This awareness is deeply related to "no-self" because it does not judge the experience with craving or aversion. Clearly, the experience arises and is known by mind, but there is a third thing calls Sati (Buddhism), Sati what is the "real experiencer of the experience" that sits apart from the experience and which can be aware of the experience in 4 levels. (Maha Sathipatthana Sutta.) # Body # Sensations (Changes of the body mind.) # Mind, # Contents of the mind. (Changes of the body mind.) To be aware of these four levels one needs to cultivate equanimity toward Craving and Aversion. This is Called Vipassana which is different from the way of reacting with Craving and Aversion. This is the state of being aware and equanimous to the complete experience of here and now. This is the way of Buddhism, with regards to mind and the ultimate nature of minds (and persons).


Mortality

Due to the mind–body problem, a lot of interest and debate surrounds the question of what happens to one's conscious mind as one's body dies. During brain death all brain activity, brain function permanently ceases. According to some neuroscientific views which see these processes as the physical basis of mental phenomena, the mind fails to survive brain death and ceases to exist. This permanent loss of consciousness after death is sometimes called "eternal oblivion". The belief that some spiritual or incorporeal component (
soul In many religious, philosophical, and myth Myth is a folklore genre consisting of narratives that play a fundamental role in a society, such as foundational tales or origin myths. The main characters in myths are usually non-humans, such as ...

soul
) exists and that it is preserved after death is described by the term "afterlife".


Parapsychology

Parapsychology is a study of certain types of paranormal phenomena, or of phenomena which appear to be paranormal or not have any scientific basis, for instance, precognition, telekinesis and telepathy. The term is based on the Greek :wikt:para-, ''para'' ('beside, beyond'), Psyche (psychology), ''psyche'' ('soul, mind'), and ''logos'' ('account, explanation') and was coined by psychologist Max Dessoir in or before 1889. J.B. Rhine tried to popularize "parapsychology" using fraudulent techniques as a replacement for the earlier term "psychical research", during a shift in methodologies which brought experimental methods to the study of psychic phenomena.Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology edited by J. Gordon Melton Gale Research, Parapsychology is not accepted among the scientific community as science, as psychic abilities have not been demonstrated to exist. The status of parapsychology as a science has also been disputed, with many scientists regarding the discipline as pseudoscience.


See also

* Outline of human intelligence – topic tree presenting the traits, capacities, models, and research fields of human intelligence, and more. * Outline of thought – topic tree that identifies many types of thoughts, types of thinking, aspects of thought, related fields, and more.


References


Further reading

* Max Bertolero and Danielle S. Bassett, "How Matter Becomes Mind: The new discipline of neuroscience, network neuroscience yields a picture of how mental activity arises from carefully orchestrated interactions among different brain areas", ''Scientific American'', vol. 321, no. 1 (July 2019), pp. 26–33. *


External links

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