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. (january 2017)
a phrenological mapping
of the brain. phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain
' illustration of mind/body dualism
. descartes believed inputs are passed on by the sensory organs
to the epiphysis
in the brain
and from there to the immaterial spirit.
the mind is the set of cognitive faculties including consciousness, imagination, perception, thinking, judgement, language and memory, which is housed in the brain (sometimes including the central nervous system). it is usually defined as the faculty of an entity's thoughts and consciousness. it holds the power of imagination, recognition, and appreciation, and is responsible for processing feelings and emotions, resulting in attitudes and actions.
there is a lengthy tradition in philosophy, religion, psychology, and cognitive science about what constitutes a mind and what are its distinguishing properties.
one open question regarding the nature of the mind is the mind–body problem, which investigates the relation of the mind to the physical brain and nervous system. older viewpoints included dualism and idealism, which considered the mind somehow non-physical. modern views often center around physicalism and functionalism, which hold that the mind is roughly identical with the brain or reducible to physical phenomena such as neuronal activity, though dualism and idealism continue to have many supporters. another question concerns which types of beings are capable of having minds (new scientist 8 september 2018 p10). for example, whether mind is exclusive to humans, possessed also by some or all animals, by all living things, whether it is a strictly definable characteristic at all, or whether mind can also be a property of some types of human-made machines.
whatever its nature, it is generally agreed that mind is that which enables a being to have subjective awareness and intentionality towards their environment, to perceive and respond to stimuli with some kind of agency, and to have consciousness, including thinking and feeling.
the concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different cultural and religious traditions. some see mind as a property exclusive to humans whereas others ascribe properties of mind to non-living entities (e.g. panpsychism and animism), to animals and to deities. some of the earliest recorded speculations linked mind (sometimes described as identical with soul or spirit) to theories concerning both life after death, and cosmological and natural order, for example in the doctrines of zoroaster, the buddha, plato, aristotle, and other ancient greek, indian and, later, islamic and medieval european philosophers.
important philosophers of mind include plato, patanjali, descartes, leibniz, locke, berkeley, hume, kant, hegel, schopenhauer, searle, dennett, fodor, nagel, and chalmers. psychologists such as freud and james, and computer scientists such as turing and putnam developed influential theories about the nature of the mind. the possibility of nonbiological minds is explored in the field of artificial intelligence, which works closely in relation with cybernetics and information theory to understand the ways in which information processing by nonbiological machines is comparable or different to mental phenomena in the human mind.
the mind is also portrayed as the stream of consciousness where sense impressions and mental phenomena are constantly changing.