Maarten Maartensz:    Philosophical Dictionary | Filosofisch Woordenboek                      

 M - Mind


Mind: Human experience and the capacities that produce it.

One interesting thing about the concept of mind is that it is a fundamental metaphysical notion in the sense that it is a theoretical term and that no person has direct access to the mind of any other person (ESP excluded). This is also shown by behaviorism: A philosophy of psychology that insisted that the only evidence and the only hypotheses that should be used in the psychological study of human beings referred to their externally visible behavior.

Behaviorism was somewhat popular under psychologists from the 1920ies to the 1950ies, mainly supported by neo-positivism in philosophy, but was based on a mistaken philosophy of science and flies directly in the face of one's own experiences.

The reason to speak of human experience in the above definition is based on the fact that human minds are the only minds humans have experiences of. See Other minds - and the particular trouble here is that no one has the experiences of another.

The concept of the mind is somewhat inbetween the concept of the brain, a material organ that generates experience, while it is - as yet - largely not known how the brain produces conscious experience, and the concept of the soul, a metaphysical notion, that also does not explain much or anything at all, since it is not even tied to any material organ.


See: Brain, Other minds, Psychology


Anastasi, Aristotle, Broad, Gregory, Hilgard & Atkindson, James, Lindsay & Norman,

 Original: Aug 22, 2004                                                Last edited: 12 December 2011.   Top