What Is Mind and How It Exists?

Marcin Miłkowski, Robert Poczobut

Diametros 3/ 2005

Abstract

The paper is a brief but comprehensive review of current philosophical ideas of the nature and existence of mind. It begins with quite obvious observation on various sources of our knowledge on mind’s functions and processes: common, philosophical and scientific. Each approach has its own value and cannot be dismissed. However the scientific knowledge should be the main context within which philosophy of mind should be practiced. The natural consequence of that (according to the authors) is, that at present no one takes the ideas like substantial dualism, epiphenomenalism or psychophysical parallelism seriously. Following those assumptions the conception of mind is further unfolded. However the reader will not find the simple answer on questions in title. Instead some criteria and mid-conceptions are proposed: what states of mind can be observed, what kind of minds can be distinguished, and what kind of mind’s models are being proposed at present in cognitive sciences and in philosophy. In the next part, on the existence of mind, the inter-levels relations are analyzed in terms of upward and downward causation. The mind is envisaged as a complex structuralized system which constitutes the basis for the realization of complex mind’s functions. At the end the idea of emergence monism is supported with some specification.

Commentary

The paper was meant to be an introduction to the discussion on the mind’s nature and existence. Both authors present very wide and comprehensive knowledge on the topic. The assumed objective has been fulfilled. It is in fact a good introduction. It must be noticed however, that the ideas which are not consistent with authors views are very easily dismissed and the reader, which presents opposite point of view can be disappointed, not finding any arguments for that.

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