Why the Mind Has a Body

Why the Mind Has a Body

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Why the Mind Has a Body

Why the Mind Has a Body

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Excerpt

The problem of the relation of mind and body takes, for contemporary thought, the form of the issue between interactionism and automatism. Interactionism regards the brain as an instrument employed by the mind in its dealings with the world of objects. It accordingly asserts in sensation an action of the body on the mind, in volition an action of the mind on the body. Automatism conceives the brain-process as the physical basis or condition of consciousness. It therefore holds that consciousness merely accompanies the brain-process, without exerting any influence upon it.

But the term 'automatism, when thus defined, covers two widely different theories. These are the conscious automaton theory' of Huxley and the parallelism' of Clifford. Huxley regards consciousness as an effect of brain-action, an effect which does not in its turn become a cause and react on the brain, and which is therefore wholly without efficiency. He thus retains still a one-sided causal relation between body and mind. Clifford holds that consciousness and the brain-process merely flow along side by side, the brain being no more responsible for consciousness than consciousness for what happens in . . .

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