Re: Definition please

From: William Benzon (
Date: Tue Dec 04 2001 - 20:38:01 GMT

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    Subject: Re: Definition please
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    on 12/4/01 2:08 PM, Dace at wrote:

    >> Since the brain and the mind are the same thing, I would have to say that
    >> their occupation of the same space is necessity not accident.
    > They're the same thing viewed from different perspectives. Mind is brain
    > from the point of view of time, while brain is mind from the point of view
    > of space. It's possible to distinguish heads from tails while recognizing
    > that ultimately there's only one thing-- the coin.

    From *Beethoven's Anvil* (pp. 71-72):

    Thus far we have considered the states of the brain, intentionality,
    coupling and timing, all while examining the nervous system as a physical
    system. We can no longer avoid the mind/body problem. I want to approach to
    this problem in the manner of Gilbert Ryle╣s The Concept of Mind. Rather
    than wonder how the mysterious and ineffable mind can connect with the
    mysterious but concrete brain, I propose a definition:

    Mind: The dynamics of the entire brain, perhaps even the entire nervous
    system, including the peripheral nervous system, constitutes the mind.

    The thrust of this definition is to locate mind, not in any particular
    neural structure or set of structures, but in the joint product of all
    current neural activity. As such the mind is, as Ryle argued, a bodily
    process; in the words of Stephen Kosslyn and Olivier Koenig, │the mind is
    what the brain does.▓[ ] Whether a neuron is firing at its maximum rate or
    idling along and generating only an occasional spike, it is participating in
    the mind. In asserting this I do not mean, of course, to imply that there is
    no localization of function in the brain. There surely is. But the mind and
    the brain are not the same thing, though they certainly are intimately
    related, as are the dancer and the dance. The fact that the dancer is
    segmented into head, neck, trunk, and limbs does not mean that the dance can
    be segmented in the same way. Similarly, we should not think of the
    functional specialization of brain regions as implying a similar
    specialization of the mind. It is not at all clear that the mind has │parts▓
    in any meaningful sense.

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