The Person and the Mind

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The Person and the Mind

This paper will address the general form of the argument for the identity of the person (mind) with the body (brain). This argument will be found unsound because it is both invalid and because the premises on which the argument is based are, in fact, false. This analysis will include a critical examination of Logical Behaviorism, a theory that supports this argument.

The argument is based on two premises (P):

P1: The mind is subject to understanding and control by science.

P2: Only what is quantifiable and sense-perceptible is subject to control by science.

Therefore, based on these two premises, the following two conclusions (C) can be reached:

C1: The mind is quantifiable and sense-perceptible.

C2: The mind is the same thing as the body (brain).

The validity of an argument is found when, if the premises are true, then the conclusions would follow logically from those premises. According to the premises established in the argument, the first conclusion would naturally follow. The argument seems to be logical and the conclusions do indeed follow from the premises. In addition, the second conclusion can also be reached from the premises, but only with the assumption that the body is the part of the person which is quantifiable and sense-perceptible. Because this assumption is taken as truth, the second conclusion follows in the argument. Therefore, it would seem that the overall form of the argument is valid. That, however, is not the case because the argument is begging the question.

Begging the question is a logical fallacy in which the conclusion is assumed before it has been proved. In this case, the first premise, by claiming that the mind is subject to contr...

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...g that the mind is nothing more than the brain, and that the person is nothing more than the body, science minimizes the extent to which individuality can define a person. To say we are nothing more than a collection of cells and that our thoughts are nothing more than chemical processes is to say that the entire human existence is futile. Our thoughts are meaningless and we are purely response-driven beings. We react to our environment and nothing more. We simply have a better vocabulary. That, however, is not the case. Everyday, humans make decisions and behave in ways that are inexplicable by science. They are behaviors that require thought and serve to give us the experiences that shape our identities. The argument is unsound, not only because it is invalid but also because its premise is false, the mind is not in any way fully understandable by science.
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