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Ruud Kempers     Wed, Jan 23, 2008  Permanent link
I took these explanations from a writing by Fergus Duniho. Also copied pieces of his work for Folkert's Subject about 'Mind vs Body'. Pretty interesting theories....

The Materialist Concept of Mind

There is a better concept of mind than the idealist one. The idealist concept is illegitimate. As I stated previously, the fundamental characteristic of mind is the ability to have beliefs. Idealism and Materialism differ on the primary use that the mind makes of beliefs. Idealism holds that the mind primarily uses its beliefs to change the world. Thus, it extols imagination over learning. Materialism holds that the mind has beliefs in order to have knowledge about the world it is in. Thus, it considers learning to be more fundamental than imagination. The materialist concept of mind makes more sense, for it can be demonstrated that the ability to learn is more fundamental.

If the mind did not have the ability to learn, it would not be able to imagine anything. Imagination does not consist in creating ideas out of the blue. It consists in applying one's knowledge in novel ways. Take, for instance, the science fiction writer. He might dream of creatures that are quite unlike anything on earth, or of inventions that no one yet knows how to make. Nevertheless, the products of his imagination will be based on what he knows. For example, a time machine is based on the fact that there is time. Our imagination is limited by our knowledge, and we would be unable to imagine anything at all if there were not first a world that we had knowledge of.

The materialist concept of mind recognizes that the mind learns about its world before it imagines how the world could be different. The idealist concept has the mind imagine a world before there can be knowledge. Such a conception is absurd. Although many theories don't hold this conception in pure form, many do contain a residue of it. This residue is contained in the belief that a mind can function independently from its body. According to this view, the body does not make the functioning of the mind possible; rather, the mind has its desires, and it controls the body in order to carry them out.

According to the materialist concept of mind, it is impossible to have a mind without a body.

Written by Fergus Duniho April 1991

The Mind/Body Problem and its Solution