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Mental functioning Essay

The mind and brain cannot be separated, they exist interdependently and together they function to bring about cognitive processes which men cannot live without. The mind-brain question has been around for ages, and at one point, the mind was the seat of consciousness and the brain was nothing more than a physiological entity. Then philosophers argued that the brain is physically present and has been the agent responsible for human behavior including the mind, while the later psychologists said that the brain control all human behavior, there is no such thing as the mind (Beloff, 1994).

Numerous researchers have sought to prove and argue the different perspectives about the mind-brain question, and each perspective had for some time enjoyed a popular following. It does not however say which perspective is true and which is false but rather these have helped shaped the science of psychology and the study of human behavior and mental functioning.

At present a certain dualism is favored by most philosophers and psychologists, because evidence of the brain’s influence over mental processes have been established while the mind has also been found to exist alongside brain functions, consciousness, perceptions, attention and even learning cannot be fully explained by brain processes. The soul is a concept established in the early part of human history as the breath of life of the person, it is often thought as the distinguishing factor between man and animal.

Whether the soul is in the mind or brain is another story, I would rather believe that the soul is within us, it may not be limited to our brain or mind, but it is our heart and spirit, the soul is the seat of hope, faith and love. The discussions about the mind-brain perspectives have made me think about how I think and the care I give my brain. Sometimes we get so caught up with being able to think, to read, to sleep, to be aware, to speak and write and being conscious at will that we don’t think that at any instant an injury to the brain might result to brain damage and we may lose our mental faculties.

The mind coexists with the brain and since the brain is the physical part, then any physical damage to the brain would ultimately lead to reduced mental functions. Moreover, there are instances when we rely so much on our mind that we give the brain lesser importance and do not consciously make an effort to keep it healthy and in prime condition. At the same time, I realized that the different perspective have given us different ways of thinking about the brain and mind, although each perspective advocated a different position, it nonetheless helped the study of the human mind and brain flourish and grow to what it is now.

I now am able to understand why the different mental functions can be associated with brain activity as captured by brain imaging techniques, and how the same brain activity lead to certain mental processes. The mind and brain issue has been a necessary component to the philosophical and scientific progress of how we understand the brain and mental functioning. Without the different perspectives, we would not be able to gain any evidence of the brains role in the human mind, nor would we be able to demonstrate the presence of the mind as a coexisting phenomenon in the human brain.

There is still more to be gained by pursuing the question of whether the mind and brain is separate or one, but the direction would be to understand how the dualism of the brain and mind produces the different behavior, emotions, knowledge and experiences that each individual has. References Beloff, J. (1994). Dualism: The mind-brain problem The Journal of Scientific Exploration, 8; 4. Retrieved November 12, 2007 from http://moebius. psy. ed. ac. uk/~dualism/papers/brains. html

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