The Person And The Mind Essay

1652 words - 7 pages

The Person and the Mind

This paper will address the general form of the argument for the identity of the person (mind) with the body (brain). This argument will be found unsound because it is both invalid and because the premises on which the argument is based are, in fact, false. This analysis will include a critical examination of Logical Behaviorism, a theory that supports this argument.
The argument is based on two premises (P):
P1: The mind is subject to understanding and control by science.
P2: Only what is quantifiable and sense-perceptible is subject to control by science.

Therefore, based on these two premises, the following two conclusions (C) can be reached:
C1: The mind is quantifiable and sense-perceptible.
C2: The mind is the same thing as the body (brain).

The validity of an argument is found when, if the premises are true, then the conclusions would follow logically from those premises. According to the premises established in the argument, the first conclusion would naturally follow. The argument seems to be logical and the conclusions do indeed follow from the premises. In addition, the second conclusion can also be reached from the premises, but only with the assumption that the body is the part of the person which is quantifiable and sense-perceptible. Because this assumption is taken as truth, the second conclusion follows in the argument. Therefore, it would seem that the overall form of the argument is valid. That, however, is not the case because the argument is begging the question.
Begging the question is a logical fallacy in which the conclusion is assumed before it has been proved. In this case, the first premise, by claiming that the mind is subject to control by science, is pre-supposing that the mind is only physical - it is the body, the brain, the neurons. That, however, is the first conclusion of the argument. Therefore, in order to achieve the first premise, one needs to have already established the first conclusion and vice-versa. This argument, therefore, is faulted by circular reasoning because one aspect cannot be discussed without the other. Neither the premise nor the conclusion can stand alone without the other. Therefore, the overall argument is shown to be invalid.

Soundness, however, also requires that the premises of the argument be true. While the second premise is generally taken as truth since science is self-described as controlling and understanding its subjects, the first premise is untrue because it does not take into consideration aspects of the person and the mind which cannot be explained. These aspects, which are used to describe the mental, include qualia, content, and self-knowledge.
Qualia, or "raw feelings" refers to sensations and feelings experienced by the person. For example, when a person says "I feel sick to my stomach" they are referring to the sensation of nausea that overtakes their body, a sensation of which they are...

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