What is the mind?

Ray Scanlon rscanlon at wsg.net
Thu Dec 3 20:47:12 EST 1998

DM Bolser wrote in message ...
>> Replace the euphemism "mind" with "soul". The present day usage of "mind"
>> arose in the first half of the nineteenth century among people who wished
>> discuss soul but also wished to have themselves known as freethinkers. So
>> just say soul (mind, self, intelligence, whatever) and relegate the whole
>> discussion to religion.
>That is the long and the short of it, but remember that not only has the
>usage of the word 'mind' changed, but also the concept of 'soul'. So where
>mind now stands for soul, what we think we mean when we say soul has
>changed. I beleive I have a soul, but is created in a physical way, in a
>totally physical universe. My soul is the self that experiances all the
>things 'I' do. This is to say that mind is very much a part of cog-sci, it
>is not somthing we don't have to worry about.

A reference to the OED makes me doubt that the usage of either "mind" or
"soul" has changed much in the last 150 years. The quotations and commentary
in the OED are available to all, why not look at them.

As for cog-sci, the less said about it the better.

>> Nonsense. The brain does the thinking, the soul experiences the activity
>> neurons and calls it thoughts. Philosophy is just watered down religion
>> without God.
>HA ha ha ha ha, Do you have any idea what you are talking about? Do you
>not know about the link between science and philosophy? Basically science
>was a philosophy which could predict and proove its postulates, so was
>maths. All thinking started in philosophy, some fields lent them selves to
>answers more easily than others, but all philosophies none the less.

In my opinion, thinking predated anything that could be called philosophy.
But who is to know, we cannot go back. Science today seems to be divided
into the "hard" sciences and those other fields where you can get by with
bullshit. The "hard" sciences seem to be divided between the physicists who
want to go all the way down, the chemists who want to stop at the atom, and
the biologists who want to stop at the molecule. Different ships, different
long splices.

>P.S. Why did you go quiet when I asked you about the mind killer drug? Is
>it because it is an argument against dualism, a concept vastly out of date
>and defunked, which you happen to beleive?

What in the world is a mind killer drug? Is that what they use in Haiti?

I am not a dualist, I am an agnostic. But I do believe the dualists have the
better of it.

My interest is in the brain and the brain will work just as well whether a
soul (mind, self, mentality) is present or not.

Those interested in how the brain works might look at

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