Descartes

Compare differing conceptualizations of the mind and how the mind is studied

Details:

The strong dualism position of Descartes suggests that the mind is fully separate from the brain, and that, therefore, there may be no detectable manifestation of representations in the brain. What some note as manifestations are called traces, and their existence has been argued over time. Brain scans suggest that nothing we remember can be physically pinpointed in the brain and that there is no geometrical location for the meaning of the word “baby,” nor is there a pinpoint location for the image of a baseball. Yet, fMRI scans note changes in the brain when an individual is memorizing new words. However, the changes are gross, smeared images with no pinpointing, relative to the scale of neurons or small groups of them. In this assignment, you will make a statement on whether the mind and brain are fully separate or whether they are one entity.

Directions:

Write an essay (2,000-2,500 words) in which you make a statement and provide support for whether the mind and brain are fully separate or whether they are one entity.

  1. Compare differing conceptualizations of the mind and how the mind is studied.
  2. Address the influence of internal and environmental conditions on what is recalled from certain kinds of memory/representations (e.g., things remembered rote, such as one’s phone number vs. interpreted things like a mother’s affect last time she was seen).
  3. Determine the necessity for a one-to-one correspondence between a specific representation in the mind and a physico-chemical condition in some specific neurons/synapses in the associated brain.
  4. Analyze fundamental differences between representations from: (a) Visual stimuli vs. those from speech stimuli; (b) Experienced stimuli (instantiated; things that happened externally, the last pizza you ate) vs. imagined stimuli (uninstantiated; anticipating-imagining something for dinner that you’ve never had before).
 

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