What is the mind and how does it exist?

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Marcin Miłkowski
Robert Poczobut


The goal of the article is to show that a complete answer to the title question can be given only in the context of the natural sciences. We believe that the group of cognitive sciences are the most reliable source of information about cognitive mental processes is. Making use of their achievements we present a series of criteria for possessing a mind. We distinguish between many kinds of minds (in particular personal minds). We attempt to outline the conditions that must be fulfilled by an adequate model of the mind. In our opinion such a model must make use of all available empirical data and of scientific theories constructed on the basis of such data. From the point of view of philosophy the requirements placed upon such theories by ontology are especially important. Their reconstruction can be a prolegomena to a future integrated ontology of the mind. We emphasize that the mind is not an independent thing (a substance). In speaking about the mind we have in mind states, events, processes, functions, and dispositions that are derivative (genetically, evolutionarily, and developmentally) with respect to processes of a lower order. We assume that an adequate model of the mind is multi-dimensional, taking into account several mutually interacting levels of organization (physico-chemical, neurobiological, calculational, representational, environmentally adaptational, and conscious). We interpret the psychophysical problem as one of the relation between levels of organization, a relation that is constitutive for the actualization of mental states. Psychophysical relations turn out to be a particular case of the broader issue of relations between levels. In carrying out a preliminary conceptualization we make use of the notion of emergence; this is why our position, which is mainly in opposition to substantial dualism, may be termed emergent monism or naturalism.


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How to Cite
Miłkowski, Marcin, and Robert Poczobut. 2005. “What Is the Mind and How Does It Exist?”. Diametros, no. 3 (March):27-55. https://doi.org/10.13153/diam.3.2005.71.
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