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We shall explore the mind and body relationship as perceived by the age-old Indian philosophers. This  Indian Philosophical realization concerning the mind and body bonding has  been reflected in the sayings of the great western philosophers, from Socrates to Descartes, Spinoza and Leibniz to Kant and Russell


The relation between the mind and the body remains till to-date one of the philosophical problems.


Mind is still a mystery.


The relation between the mind and the body is still hotly discussed among the philosophers and the modern brain scientists. 


The scientific, medical, and philosophical institutions are still seeking understanding of the relationship between the mind, the brain and the body.


There are interesting articles on Mind Body Problem (MBP) by different authors:


1. Getting rid of MBP: Ontological Relativism and the Pragmatic Notion of Metaphysical Truth by Lydia Mechtenberg.


2. Why isn't Consciousness Empirically Observable? by Ralph Allis of Clark Atlanta University


3. Consciousness and Intentionality of Action by Pär Sundström of Umeå University


4. Problems of Mind as Action by Nikolaj Demjancuk of University of West Bohemia, Plzen, Czech


5. On the Philosophy of Cognitive Science by Henrique de Morais Ribeiro of UNESP, Brazil


The MBP is an active subject of the philosophy of cognitive science and philosophy of mind


SOME Modern Theories:


Mind is a function of the brain.

Mind is what the brain does.

Body and Mind are not separate.


Modern cognitive scientists reject mind-Body dualism.


Modern concepts of mind such as consciousness, free will, and independent thought have been denied by behaviourists and emphasized by humanists. Behaviourists essentially deny the very existence of mind.


The structure and functions of the brain largely determine the nature of the mind.


Question then?

Is feeling like love a hormone surging through our brain?



Let us consider some questions that always come to our minds (!):


  1. Do mental phenomena depend for their existence on physical things         (or vice versa)?

  2. Can you make a mind? Can you implant a brain? Will the person have the same personality?

  3. Is thought a physical phenomenon?

  4. Is our Biology improving and coping up with the rapid development of the modern world? 

  5. Are our glands’ functional ability improving at the same rate as the stress of the modern world?




The body is divisible.

The mind is not divisible.

So the mind is distinct from the body.




The Indian definition of mind is as old as anything. Their fascinating imagination about the mind is that it is atomic in nature and therefore cannot be perceived. But it is a substance and is the internal sense for the perception of the individual soul and its qualities, like pleasure and pain. Its existence is inferred. Mind does not produce any material things. It is only the media to perceive the internal states.

Modern science obviously does not admit this view. So, the question of validity does not arise.


The mental faculties are dominated by mind, governed by it, and made up of it.

Though the word MIND has, in English, mainly an intellectual connotation,

it can also be used in the sense of the whole content of consciousness.1



For thousands of years, Yoga has been preaching that the body and the mind are one vital unity - each is acting on the other, but not derived from each other. 

The mind is restless and causes disturbance in the body and the senses.1


Dr. S. Radhakrishnan in his book INDIAN PHILOSOPHY wrote:


"Our inability to realize consciousness apart from the body does not imply that consciousness is the property of the body, for the body may only be an auxiliary to the realization of the consciousness. Perception of light is not possible without light. But from this it does not follow that perception is light or a property thereof.


If consciousness were a property of the body, then it must be capable of being perceived by others than the owner of the body, for we know that properties of material things could be perceived by others. But the consciousness of one person is his private property, and cannot be known by others in the same way as by the self."


The mind of Western psychology roughly corresponds in Indian philosophy to buddhi (intelligence or knowledge), ahankara (ego) and manas (mind), taken together and often called antahkarana, or inner sense. 2


According to the Indian thinkers (ca 800 BCE), the mind has three functions – determination, decision and choice. It is the faculty of perception.

The mind has the three aspects of the subconscious, the conscious and the super-conscious, and the “abnormal” psychic phenomena, called by the different names of ecstasy, genius, inspiration, madness, are the workings of the super-conscious mind. 1


Only during the 19th century, the reality of unconscious mental activities has been recognized as a result of the researches of Freud, Jung and Adler, and mind is thought of as having unconscious and subconscious depths, which affect its conscious level. 2


Since the first account of human mind was given by the ancient Indian thinkers hundreds of years ago, a lot of research on mind and body relationship had been carried out in the west, and is still being carried out but with no positive conclusion yet on the question of this relationship. 


I will try to give a brief account of the western researches since the time of Socrates.


When Crito asks Socrates, ”In what way shall we bury you?” Socrates answers, 

“In any way you like, but first you must catch me, the real me. Be a good cheer, my dear Crito, and say that you are burying my body only”.


READ what Socrates, Plato and Aristotle said: TOP


While great philosophical distinction between mind & body in the Western thought can be traced to the Greeks, it is to the seminal work of Rene Descartes (1596 – 1650), French mathematician, philosopher and physiologist, that the west owes the first systematic account of the mind and body relationship. 

He published the first extended essay on physiological psychology. 


Since Descartes, we have French philosopher Malebranche, Dutch Spinoza, German Leibniz and many others who researched on the dualism of mind and body.


READ what Descartes, Malebranche, Spinoza and Leibniz said: TOP


As the 19th century progressed, the problem of the relationship of mind to brain became very pressing.  Europe became more aware than formerly of Indian Philosophies, both ancient and modern. 3


Two major developments occurred – First, understanding the localization of cerebral function, based on the idea that the brain serves as the organ of mind. The second involved a growing familiarity with the thesis that mental events – beliefs, mental suggestions, mesmeric trance states, psychic traumas and the like – sometimes bring about radical alterations in the state of the body.


The great mind George Lewis, the English philosopher and psychologist (1817-1878) characterized the relation – Mental & physical processes are simply different aspects of one and the same series of psychophysical events. When seen from the subjective point of view (e.g., when someone is thinking), the psychophysical series is mental; when seen from the objective point of view (e.g.; when someone observes what is going on in the thinking person’s brain), it is physical.


Scientific psychology began in Germany as a physiological psychology born of a marriage between the philosophy of the mind, on the one hand and on the other hand experimental phenomenology that arose within sensory physiology.


Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), THE GREATEST GERMAN PHILOSOPHER of the modern world denied the possibility that psychology could become an empirical science on two grounds. First, since psychological processes vary in only one dimension, time, they could not be described mathematically. Second, since psychological processes are internal and subjective, he asserted that they could not be laid open to measurement.


Unlike in physics, there are no laws in psychology.


Science has mapped the whole Universe, but it is yet to map our mind or consciousness.


The mind-body problem in the western world has remained essentially unchanged since Descartes put it forward in 1641.


One thing we know is that all activities are happening inside our body –


Question is whether some external factors influence us?


I personally would like to believe: