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Biology 202, Spring 2005
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What is the brain? What is the mind?What realation does one have to the other?

by L.F.

The central nervous system is a physiological system similar to the digestive system or respiratory system. The only difference is that it has a brain at the end, which in effect seems to be the rational and conscious mind of the rest of the body. An article I read stated that "the mental processes of Mind are attached to the molecular processes of Brain as a subjective addendum, so that we no longer have the brain and mind relationship of popular belief, but "brainmind" unity in one substance."

I would like to attempt to find out whether this is the only logical explanation to the much debated issue of brain vs. mind.
When the brain processes it translates to a mental processing and through that we experience emotion, pain, pleasure etc. However, using a dualistic approach, has no physical properties it cannot, be a direct part of a physical brain that necessitates real "micro joules of incoming synaptic energy" to modify its constant activity towards a mentally desired outcome.

Another suggestion is that the mind is entirely separate from the brain and that is it an entity with undefined substantial nature. However this would still raise many questions such as how is the mind connected at all with the brain? Does one influence the other. If this is the case, surely the non material mind cannot influence, control or take part in actions of the material brain.

In my opinion a mind can definitely not exist without a brain, because a brain perceives surroundings and registers emotions and feelings that thus formulate the mind. A brain can exist without a mind. But the question is then raised, what constitutes a mind? Is it what Philosophers refer to as a soul? Or is it simply the part of the brain that transfers signals from the nervous system into physical external actions? Is the term mind just another way to describe the brain. And, if a mind cannot exist without a brain, yet a brain can exist without a mind, then does the mind really exist, is it just a name without a meaning?

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