Mind and consciousness

The philosophy of mind seeks to answer such questions as: is mind distinct from matter? Can we define what it is to be conscious, and can we give principled reasons for deciding whether other creatures are conscious, or whether machines might be made so that they are conscious? What are thinking, feeling, experience, remembering? Is it useful to divide the functions of the mind up, separating memory from intelligence, or rationality from sentiment, or do mental functions form an integrated whole?

Flew and Priest

The first two questions brings up important concepts – mind and conscious(ness). the first question seems to assume that the mind is already is some kind of existent object. The second question assumes also to be conscious is a state that can be had or not had. And by the act of reification one can either own or not own consciousness, again assuming consciousness is a kind of object. The worst case scenario is that language forces us to talk and think about mind and consciousness as objects because language frames them as such. The third question is more interesting, trying to answer the nature of thought, emotions and experience. The fourth question is about the categories of the contents of thought.

For me, the study of mind must start with the question of the mind’s ontological status, the question of its existence or non-existence. This is true of consciousness as well. If it does then how is it different to existent matter. And if it does not then how do we account for it.

The dominant philosophies of mind in the current western tradition include varieties of physicalism and functionalism. For particular topics see also cognition, emotion, language, memory, mind-body problem.

Flew and Priest

I am tend to the physicalist position here. I kind of disagree with functionalism because the questions they ask tend to assume an existent mind while ignoring the embodied aspect of the mind. In other words, the philosophy of mind should, in my opinion, be relabeled as the philosophy of brain.