• Fumani
    40
    What is the mind without its contents? What is the mind when it is vacant of thought, perceptions, ideas and concepts? Is it still in existence or is non existent without these properties?
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Mind is that which creates. Without memory it would feel as if one is unconscious or between dream states, where there is no sense of duration, however it is still there and can awaken and reach for memory via the body it had created. This might also be the state of death.
  • Fumani
    40


    Can you not feel conscious without memory? In fact I would think that we would even more conscious without memory.

    This might also be the state of death.Rich

    So in essence the mind cannot perish? In some way the mind is eternal?
  • Bitter Crank
    5.5k
    What is mind?

    Never matter.

    What is matter?

    Never mind.
  • Bitter Crank
    5.5k
    I'm just not sure we can talk intelligently about this, because we can't experience anything about our minds when the mind isn't working away full blast. So, when you say "what is the mind without its content" what do you even mean?

    We know from experience that when we give people certain anesthetic drugs (an + aisthēsis, sensation) systemically they become unconscious. When they wake up they have no memory from the period of unconsciousness. Sleep is similar, but we often wake up with what we believe are memories from that state -- dreams.

    When we wire up the box in which the mind is presumably located, we know that whatever is going on inside the box keeps going on during sleep, and anesthesia, though not quite the same as when the person is awake. The EEG trace is not something we can read to see what we were thinking about, if anything.

    FMRIs provide similar information about what is going on in the box, whether we are awake or not.

    We can't get outside of our heads to objectively view our minds, and we can't directly observe somebody else's mind.

    If we switch to what the brain is doing, we can make a little more sense of what is going on.
  • matt
    65
    When the mind is vacant of thought, perception, ideas, concepts, etc, it is asleep or maybe more simply not overthinking.
  • Fumani
    40
    I'm just not sure we can talk intelligently about this, because we can't experience anything about our minds when the mind isn't working away full blast. So, when you say "what is the mind without its content" what do you even mean?Bitter Crank

    We as philosophers should not shy away from investigating matters such as these just because it appears to be unintelligent.

    You are speaking about the brain as if it is synonymous with the mind. The brain always has activity, activity that we are mostly unconscious of. The brain itself is just a highly complex system of matter, it does not account for experience. Experience is the domain of the mind because experience is immaterial and the contents of the mind are immaterial as well.

    So lets focus on the immaterial aspect of the mind, we have perceptions, we have continuous narrations and self talk, we have a large array of images and sounds but if the mind were absent of all these qualities could we still say there is a mind that is present?
  • Fumani
    40


    I would lean more to it being asleep however sleep implies unconsciousness. I would maybe use the word resting, because you can rest and still be conscious.
  • Harry Hindu
    1.1k
    The mind is a form of working memory. Working memory includes the aspect of attention, or a central executive - the thing that wanders around the mind focusing on, or amplifying, certain signals, or qualia, that are relevant to accomplishing some goal.
  • tom
    1.3k
    So lets focus on the immaterial aspect of the mind, we have perceptions, we have continuous narrations and self talk, we have a large array of images and sounds but if the mind were absent of all these qualities could we still say there is a mind that is present?Fumani

    These are all software features, as is consciousness.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    Can you not feel conscious without memory? In fact I would think that we would even more conscious without memory.

    This might also be the state of death.
    — Rich

    So in essence the mind cannot perish? In some way the mind is eternal?
    Fumani

    I cannot say that when I am in an unconscious state I feel anything and there doesn't appear to be memory in the manner I normally experience it. But there is definitely something there because I do wake up!

    Yes, the Mind appears to be eternal. It continues in many forms. But more than this, personal memory is persistent and we can actually observe it as interested, inborn, innate traits. We are all different because of the way our memory evolves.
  • bahman
    530
    Mind is essence of any being with the ability to experience, decide, and act.
  • bioazer
    25
    The brain itself is just a highly complex system of matter, it does not account for experience. Experience is the domain of the mind because experience is immaterial and the contents of the mind are immaterial as well.
    --@Fumani

    Incorrect.
  • TheMadFool
    2.1k
    What is the mind without its contents? What is the mind when it is vacant of thought, perceptions, ideas and concepts? Is it still in existence or is non existent without these properties?Fumani

    I think, from a physical point of view, there is no such thing as a mind if you think it as having an existence independent of the brain.

    When we see an umbrella we think ''sun/rain protection'' but that's just man-made functional attribute. There isn't anything real about ''sun/rain protection''. Similarly, the mind is just a function of the brain. It lacks any real, brain-independent existence. The brain=umbrella and ''sun/rain protection''=the mind.

    So, the question could be accused of arising from a misconception - the false belief that the mind is something real and of which we could ask questions.

    However, there are n number of possibilities. There could be a mind and it could be independent of the brain but then it begs the question ''how can we engage in meaningful discourse with mere speculation?'' Perhaps we need mystical knowledge. Could there be such a thing?
  • Fumani
    40
    I think, from a physical point of view, there is no such thing as a mind if you think it as having an existence independent of the brain.TheMadFool

    From the physical point of view we cannot perceive the mind yes, but we can always see the physical effects that it has on matter.
    When we see an umbrella we think ''sun/rain protection'' but that's just man-made functional attribute. There isn't anything real about ''sun/rain protection''. Similarly, the mind is just a function of the brain. It lacks any real, brain-independent existence. The brain=umbrella and ''sun/rain protection''=the mindTheMadFool

    You are making the assumption that the mind is the function of the brain. Just because mental states correlate with the brain it does not mean there is a causation. I would flip the script an say that it is the mind that is senior to the brain. Mental states determine the chemicals that the brain secretes to add resonance to that mental state.

    However, there are n number of possibilities. There could be a mind and it could be independent of the brain but then it begs the question ''how can we engage in meaningful discourse with mere speculation?'' Perhaps we need mystical knowledge. Could there be such a thing?TheMadFool

    In fact we can engage this matter appropriately, we can apply the knowledge that we attain from phenomenology to this case it needn't be mystical. We can attempt at perceiving the world without interpreting the data with our minds but through directexperience
  • Dzung
    42
    you need to choose a ground of belief to talk about it. It's too big a question.
    Let's start with this point
    but we can always see the physical effects that it has on matter.Fumani

    does that mean you can still stand on the ground of modern physics and talk about mind? I doubt very much. What we "see" is not always a good proof.
  • Fumani
    40


    Well it can actually hold ground in quantum physics, just another rendition of physics. The observer has an effect on the substance of matter.
  • bioazer
    25

    But that still does not make the mind an independent entity from the brain.
    Mental states determine the chemicals that the brain secretes to add resonance to that mental state.
    Or, more logically, mental states are an experience caused by those chemicals.
    And your above quote still does not answer the question: how do you "see" the effects of the mind on matter?
    Another question. Do you believe that a flatworm has a mind? How about a grasshopper? Or an iguana, or a chimpanzee? Or is it only humans?
  • Fumani
    40
    Or, more logically, mental states are an experience caused by those chemicalsbioazer

    Why is it more logical to infer that the chemicals are causing the mental states? It seems as if your basic assumption is that matter is senior to the intangible universe. Just because the brain demonstrates physiological changes that match mental states does not mean the brain is creating those mental states. How did you calculate this? Did you measure the brains electrical speed or the speed of the mind?

    And your above quote still does not answer the question: how do you "see" the effects of the mind on matter?bioazer

    Many experiments have been done that have demonstrated the effect the brain has on matter.

    Another question. Do you believe that a flatworm has a mind? How about a grasshopper? Or an iguana, or a chimpanzee? Or is it only humans?bioazer

    I believe they do, the mind is not solely reserved for human beings. Our minds maybe more complex but mind is a field that is shared.
  • Starthrower
    33
    The mind is the soul, or a physical representation of it. This may be proven false later on but until then I believe this is the best answer.
  • bioazer
    25

    Just because the brain demonstrates physiological changes that match mental states does not mean the brain is creating those mental states. How did you calculate this? Did you measure the brains electrical speed or the speed of the mind?
    No, I did not. But neurologists have done so hundreds of times.
    Clearly you have not done your homework.
    Those "physiological changes" you talk about occur before the "mental states" with which they correlate.
    Many experiments have been done that have demonstrated the effect the brain has on matter.
    I'd love to see your sources.
    I believe they do, the mind is not solely reserved for human beings.
    So if a flatworm has a mind, does an amoeba? How about a plant? Or a bacteria? Or a virus? Or bovine spongiform encephalopathy? How do you draw a line between what is and is not a "mind"?
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