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Personal Identity and Mind Essay

From the Latin word “duo”, or two, dualism seeks to explain the relationship between the mind and body. Put simply, it purports that mind and body are categorically distinct and separate from each other and, thus, can not be reduced to each other in any way. In order to understand this theory better, we take into account all the external stimuli received by our sensory organs that bring about changes in our mental state. As a result, our body starts to feel sensation/s. Note that whenever our bodies feel sensation, be it pleasant or unpleasant, it drives it to move or act in a certain way.

For instance, we crave for fried chicken and suddenly smell the aroma of fried chicken wafting through the air, and hear the cracklings of chicken being fried. Suppose, this dish is served to you, your body then starts to move towards the dish and start eating. It appears therefore, that there is interaction between mind and body in such a way that physical events cause mental events and mental events cause physical events. In the case of Captain Picard, regardless of the fact that his body and brains were just “exact replicas” of his previous self, his mind and body are still considered as two distinct and separate entities.

His body or physical state will function in a way that may interact with hid mind but will still remain its distinction as separate entities. This is the contention of property dualism, which claims that although there may not be a distinction in substance, mental and physical properties are still categorically distinct, and not reducible to each other. Captain Picard’s mind state will change upon receiving external stimuli and from there, his body will start to feel sensation that will goad it to act in a certain way. Yet, both are separate entities.

According to mind-brain identity theory, Picard’s mental states are each identical to his brain states. What does this mean? How would the identity theorist respond to the argument you provided for dualism? In contrast to dualism, the mind-brain identity theory asserts that mental states are identical with brain states. The theory further asserts that for every mental state, there is a brain-state with which it is identical. For instance, “every pain event is identical with the C-fibers firing. ” (“Mind-brain Identity Theory”)

The same article attempts to explain this theory further by providing details about the physiological functions of the brain and relating it to the said theory, thus: The main support for mind-brain identity theory is the phenomenon of localization. Mental events appear to be associated with specific parts of the brain. Mental activity appears to be localized in identifiable areas of the brain. This is shown by the fact that inhibiting brain activity inhibits mental activity. Those who suffer localized brain damage also have such localized damage to the mind.

The most natural explanation of this localization is that the mind is the brain. Captain Picard’s mind and brain, according to the mind-brain identity theorists, are one and the same thing. Any damage to his brain, therefore, produces damage to the mind also. Works Cited “Mind-brain Identity Theory”. Philosophy of Mind. Info. 2005. 22 June 2009 <http://www. philosophyofmind. info/mindbrainidentity. html> “ Mind Body Dualism Theory”. Wikipedia. 2009. 20 June 2009 <http://www. en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Mind/body/dualism. html>


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