The problem of body and mind

The problem of body and mind, their relationship and interconnection has occupied the minds of philosophers and researches for centuries. A number of theories was created in order to resolve this problem. Searle gives us new theory explaining mind and body relations. His views are fresh and innovative and many scientists agree that his original approach can overcome many contradictions and counterparts of the theories of the past. Searle rejects dualistic approach, which regards mind and body like two separate substances. Searle also criticizes monists who turn either to materialism, explaining the mind as the part of material world, or to idealism, regarding everything as ultimately mental. The dualistic approach was extremely popular during the last century. Searle criticizes Decorates’ dualism between mind and body as such separation leaves no space for consciousness. He also rejects behaviorists, epiphenominologist, funcionalist and skepticist approaches. Searle created his own theory, which got the name “biological naturalism”. His main argument is that “conscious states are real phenomena in the real world”(Searle). He states that latest scientific innovations give proofs to his theory. The theory is surprisingly simple and Searle explains the fact, that it hadn’t been discovered earlier by the low level of technical progress. Searle states that by finding the solution of mind – body problem he resolved the central problem concerning this subject. He discovered the way the mind relates to the rest of the world.
He states that the mind is a part of nature and it was developed in the process of biological evolution. This makes the mind the part of physical world. The mind is an operation of brain and possess same nature as neuron or synapse but stands organizationally higher. Searle states that modern science gives a log of opportunities to support his theses. Nowadays it became possible to study the development of mind on the example of animals. We can also find proves that most living vertebrate creatures possess conscious. These are proofs that mind and consciousness had been developed in the process of evolution.
So, our mind is fully determined by our brain. Brain is the cause of the existence of the mind and also the mind is a feature of brain. He states that “Mental phenomena are caused by neurophysiological processes in the brain and are themselves features of the brain.” (Searle, 54). Searle gives water as an example to illustrate his thesis. If we study the relations between the water (H2O) and liquidity we will find that water possess the feature of liquidity. Same the mind is the feature of brain. At the same time the feature of liquidity is determined by the molecular structure of the water. It’s not an extra-quality of the water molecules but the one of the molecularly features. “The liquid state of this water can be causally dependent on the behavior of the molecules, and can also be a feature of the system made up of the molecules?" (Searle). So, Searle describes two levels of event and phenomena and these levels and micro level and macro level. Micro level defines macro level but at the same time it is identical with it. Molecules make the micro level in the example with water while liquidity makes macro level. If we turn back to mind and brain correlation we will see that the mind is a macro level of brain and neurons make its micro level. So, if we apply Searle’s conclusion to the mind and brain correlation, we will see that the mind is caused by neurons and at the same time it is a feature of brain. Expanding these conclusions we will see that mental is also the part of the physical. There can be no division to physical and mental any more. Everything derives from physical but some things have mental-physical and others have non-mental physical nature. A person can not have mind without a brain but they do not make one unite and stay two different things. The mind represents mental reality while the brain represents physical one. Mind and brain are both real but present different types of reality. Searle tries to prove that being the cause for mind, brain possess mind as its feature. From the first sight it may seem that mind and brain are identical. Knowing about possible critics of such an approach, Searle has made a ready answer for those, who will blame him. To escape controversy, he states that mind and brain are different things and mind doesn’t cause brain. He says that “Either you have dualism and an unintelligible account of causation or you have an intelligible account of causation and abandon the idea of the causal efficacy of the mental in favor of some version of the identity thesis with an attendent epiphenomenalism of the mental aspects of psycho-physical events.”(Searle) So, the mind is described as a higher aspect of brain and thus it possess same physical nature as brain does but being its higher aspect it also possess some additional characteristics. So, mental things can easily interact with physical things, as they both possess physical nature. Searle states that when the brain causes mind to do something the result is achieved by the move of neurons to the mind. At the same time when the direction comes from the mind the same process is turned on and the neurons give directions to the mind again. This proves Searle’s thesis that all the direction come from the brain, not mind.

1. Stumpf, Samuel Enoch (1993), Philosophical Problems, McGraw-Hill Humanities

Our services