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Mental states and processes

Philosophy : Philosophy of Mind

To distinguish the faculties of our mind from the features of our brain (which allows for dualism but doesn't necessarily imply it), we can divide our mind into categories of states and processes. Some are ambiguous in their nature, and may be either a state or a process.

Conscious experiences - from these we form beliefs about experiences that may become knowledge. The opposite would be representational experiences, e.g. the knee's reflex, whereby its reaction is merely a representation of the input; no conscious process takes place

Beliefs, desires, emotions

Thought - language representing a conscious experience

Action - the manifestation of a conscious experience in the body; as opposed to mere behaviour based upon representational experience

Unconscious experiences

Interpersonal relationships develop around representations of mental states; I am aware of you, and I know about your various mental conditions. I do not know what it is like to have your mental states, hence relationships are purely representational.

Mental states and processes are susceptible to judgement; this implies some responsibility for our mental states, though in the case of many, this is dubious (e.g. unconscious processes, emotions, and especially actions based on them).

The mind-body problem is essentially this: how are mental states and processes linked to bodily states and processes?

Can a state of mind merely be a bodily state? I.e. can meat experience? What does studying a person?s brain tell you about their mind, their experiences and emotions?

Can a state of the body merely be a mind state?