What is the relationship between the brain and the mind? | Functions of the Brain - Sharecare
Currently, increasing number of human studies emerged to demonstrate the association between “brain-mind-body practice and health” (Lustig. Your Body and Mind Relationship, Revealed. Generally speaking, we tend to think of our bodies and minds as separate systems and believe. Our brains aren't flying solo; our emotions also come into play when we're interacting with the world, new research finds.
In fact, rather than speaking of a tabula rasa, we should speak of a tabula which is constantly swept rasata. Due to its capacity to generalize abstraction with respect to all conditioned and singular datum, human knowledge can be applied to, or focus on an infinity of similar cases, becoming in such a way an "a priori" of the mind.
When it results inadequate for a new set of data "knowing of not knowing"the procedure of adaptation can repeat itself indefinitely. Such a closure is nothing but a self-consciousness of non-organic nature, hence not materially conditioned by the past, what the Ancients used to call intellectushaving the capacity to act immediately on itself distinction between the "agent" and the "possible" components of the intellectand therefore capable of intelligere se intelligere to know that it is knowing.
This way of solving the problem of the relationship between the spiritual and the material component of the human psyche has two main consequences. It is a sort of closure on itself of the informational flux, a "black hole", a "singularity" on the informational space that closes on itself.
Moreover, it can be partially or totally prevented by the wrong functioning of some of its material sub-structures which control our cerebral activity and that are informed by it, thus creating the illusion, accepted to be the truth by some thinkers, that these cerebral structures would be the "subjects" of human rational operations.
A text by St. In De Anima, I, lec. Here, he distinguishes between sensory cognitive operations, which have the body as both an object and a means of the operation itself, and which can therefore be only partially self-referential, and intellectual cognitive operations, which have the body only as an object, and which can therefore be completely self-referential intellectus intelligit se intelligere. We just need the "exchange of information" without any violation of the physical principle of energy conservation, as we would say today.
Within the context of the ancient physiology of the "corporeal spirits", all of this is explicitly stated by Aquinas of the "pneumatic" non-electric principle of the transmission through a distance of the nervous impulse, before the discoveries of the Italian physiologist Galvani.
In order to be able to talk today in similar terms, the only physical condition we need is that the physical system we are dealing with, that is, the brain, possess a sufficient level of complexity and a sufficient dynamical instability, derived from its nature which is strongly and irreducibly non-linear unpredictability on the medium-long range behaviour, as occurs in chaotic systems. This immediately implies that energetic and informational fluxes cannot be superimposed to each other in such systems, unlike what happens in the stochastic systems studied by statistical mechanics and linear thermodynamics.
In fact, what characterizes chaotic dynamics that dissipates all living systems are "dissipative systems" and "feed" upon free energy subtracted from the environment is that there is a generation of information within them, that proceeds from the microstate to the macrostate, exactly in the opposite direction, from the macrostate to the microstate, through which the system dissipates energy.
The system behaves in an unpredictable way with respect to what we knew about it from the initial conditions Although each individual quasi-periodical trajectory within the space of the states of the system is predictable step by step, it is a characteristic of the system to "jump" in a way that is absolutely unpredictable from one trajectory to another.
The unpredictability of the macrostate is therefore generated from the microstate of the trajectories of particles that compose the system.
Editorial: Brain-Mind-Body Practice and Health
In a classic thermodynamic system, the two energetic and informational fluxes proceed instead in the same direction from the macrostate to the microstate, meaning that as soon as the system is described in terms of its microstate, its behaviour becomes perfectly predictable cf.
On the one hand, being of spiritual nature, it can be considered capable of autonomous subsistence and must be therefore in some way a "substance," as it was intended by the Platonic dualist.
On the other hand, according to the principles of Christian anthropology regarding the person, it must be considered a component, and therefore "part" of a unique psychophysical substance, that is the person. At this point it is clear that if we do not want to fall into contradiction, the soul must be considered as "substance", but in a way different from what is intended for the person in its completeness. Thomas solves the question by referring to the general Aristotelian doctrine on the category of "substance", as discussed by the Stagirite in Book V of the Categories.
According to this doctrine, "substance" can be intended in three main ways. In the first way, as a being that is defined and complete in its nature and that exists as an individual "first" substance: In the second way, the substance can be intended as a defined and complete being that exists only in the individuals, understood as "parts of them" "second" substance: An analogy for the notion of substance as intended in this second sense can be found in logic, in the notion of property that defines an "ordinary class" of elements, a class that does not belong to itself because it is determined by a non "autologic" predicate, that does not apply to itself.
In such a way "humanity", intended as a property that defines all human beings and only human beings, "is not itself a human being," as Aristotle would say. In fact, as Russell discovered, if we consider the notion of "total class of all the ordinary classes," the class of all the classes that do not belong to themselves, whenever we ask ourselves if such a class does or does not belong to itself, we soon find an antinomy.
Finally, there is a third way of speaking of substance. A substance can be considered as a being that is defined, but non complete in its nature, and that exists in the individuals as "part of them", a part that, however, determines the totality to which it belongs "third" substance or "substantial form".
An analogy to the notion of substance as intended in this third meaning can be found again in logic, in the notion of property that determines a "non-ordinary class" of elements, a class that belongs to itself because it is determined by an autologic predicate, that can be applied to itself. For example, "polysyllabic," intended as a property that determines all the polysyllabic words, is itself a polysyllabic word, and therefore belongs to the class that it defines.
Regarding this matter Aristotle used the physical, indeed biological, example of the "feet," that although being part of the totality of an animal individual, nonetheless they are a part that can define the totality to which they belong. In fact, an animal can be defined as "biped" or "quadruped. The soul is the form of a first, individual substance, that is the person, thus it is part of that, which is however specified by this part.
Person means in fact "individual substance of a rational nature," according to the classic definition given by Boethius. The problem of the survival of the rational soul after death still remains unsolved.Deepak Chopra, M.D on Mind-Body Connection: Talks at GS
According to the previous proof, the soul has its own operations that it "must" execute independently from the organs of the body. Thus, as Aquinas states, if it has the capability to act by itself per sethen it must also have the capability to be by itself cf.
Quaestio De Anima, a. However, it does not have the being by itself as a "first" substance, but rather as a "third" substance, as a part of that totality that is specified by it. In other terms, in order to continue with the Aristotelian example of the hand and the body, and of how the hand cannot survive if separated from the body, with which the former constantly exchanges matter and energy for its vital operations of metabolic nature, analogously the mind, in order to perform its cognitive operations, needs to continually exchange information with the body, and through it with the rest of the world.
In other words, a living organism can be defined as such if it is able to exert its characteristic vital operations. Nowadays, it is possible to put an explanted organ in a compatible chemical environment and maintain it for a short time in order to allow it to carry out its main metabolic operations up until the moment when it is transplanted in a new organism.
The characteristic vital operations of the human mind are not, however, of chemical-metabolic type, but rather of the "informational" type. Therefore, how Thomas Aquinas already stated, the human mind can continue to carry out its vital operations hence to "live" after death provided that it receives from a source other than the body the pieces of information species on which to operate. The question posed by the philosopher Thomas, doctor humanitatis, was answered by the theologian Thomas, doctor angelicus.
The human soul can continue to survive temporarily in the after life, provided that it receives "through illumination" by God, as the angels, the "information" that can enable it to carry out its characteristic vital functions which are of the cognitive type. The souls of the dead can continue to see the world and be in communion with us "through God," just as the angels which do not have a body This until the moment when each soul will be "transplanted" in a matter similar to the present one that the soul will reorganize as the body of a defined individual, that is to fully carry out once again its function of substantial form or "third substance" of a complete human person, "first substance", in agreement with the biblical dogma of the final resurrection of the bodies cf.
Apart from theology, much more nowadays than in the Middle Ages, the "dual" approach to the mind-body relationship offers to metaphysics and anthropology new ways to indicate unexpected solutions to the eternal problem of the survival of the mind after death. Johnson-Laird at Princeton University, one of the first "critics" of the absolutism of the functionalist paradigm in the cognitive sciences, writes at the end of his manual of cognitive psychology: It suggests an alternative to the traditional philosophies of mind: This thesis is incompatible with the Dualistic philosophy that holds mind and matter to be independent domains.
It is also incompatible with both Materialism and Idealism - the traditional attempts to abandon one domain or the other. It implies that certain organizations of matter enable processes to occur that represent events elsewhere in the world.
It also implies that the fabric of a computer does not matter. What matters is the organization of these processes. This philosophy replaces the concept of the immortal soul with an alternative form of immortality. There is a remote possibility that the computations of a human mind might be captured within a medium other than a brain.
A facsimile of a human personality could be preserved within a computer program. All living things pass on to their offspring a self-reproducing program in their genes. Human beings, in addition, can leave behind them some traces of their personalities in books, in pictures, in theories, and in other cultural artefacts.
We are familiar with the idea of interacting with such artefacts in order to glean some understanding of a long-dead person. The concept of interacting with a dynamic representation of an individual's intellect and personality is sufficiently novel to be disturbing. It raises moral, metaphysical and scientific issues of its own" Johnson-Laird,pp.
Perspectives to understand the Mind-Body Relationship As we have seen, the debate on the so called "Mind-Body Problem" is very present and open, especially in the field of the so-called "cognitive sciences," the last to be born inside the encyclopedia of the modern sciences cf.
Gardner, ; Thagard, In practical terms, the states and the conscious operations, which have always been inviolable properties of the individual subjectivity, have a double objective correlate, accessible to the observation by other human subjects, and thus also accessible to a scientific type of theorization: So we observe in the field of cognitive sciences a transition from a functionalist paradigm, that has the character of a monist-type metaphysics, to a much more well-organized paradigm that is based upon the distinguishing features of the dual theories of mind.
To summarize, these features are: This last point, on which the former two depend, emphasizes the difference between dual and functionalist paradigms. How it was stated earlier, the software-hardware distinction made by the functionalist paradigm has little to do with the distinction "informational flux"-"energetic flux" made by the dual paradigm.
Unlike the second distinction, which is based on an intrinsic characteristic of the complex dynamical systems, the first one is substantially a distinction of the heuristic type. We can count from one to ten either by going through the fingers of two hands, in touching the beads of a rosary, by listening to the water drops from a tap, by moving the balls of an abacus, etc.: Within the functionalist paradigm this equivalence is shattered only when facing the highly problematic construction of the "oracle" and of its interpretation in terms of a non-computable determinism of the hardware.
From here follows contemporary interest for the cognitive sciences, which advance along a post-functionalist paradigm according to three fundamental directions of research development in the present and in the immediate future, to which we devote the last three sub-sections of this essay. In order to explain the evolution in the biological systems, the laws of unpredictability that are manifest within the complex dynamical systems and which are the basis of the energetic flux -informational flux distinction, can provide a different, and perhaps more efficient principle, than the simple selection by a random mutation DARWIN, IV.
Unlike the introduction of a simple aleatory variable implied by the Darwinian principle of random mutation, the deterministic character of this unpredictability can avoid the system spanning the whole phase space of possible mutations, but rather should allow it to consider only significant sub-domains of it, and with a memory mechanism that should stop it from passing over where it has already been.
The transition to chaos and the choice of islands of structural stability through the control and hopefully the self-control on such transitions, should render these systems much more promising candidates than the stochastic systems for the study of the physical basis of biological evolution. And this, although an exceptional physical and mathematical work in order to characterize them in an acceptable manner would be necessary.
We have only begun climbing a mountain, the top of which we do not even see! Much more than the "blind watchmaker" of Darwinian memory is here available: Therefore, the selection for random mutation would be left aside only to modulate little modifications and adaptations within the species for an introduction, cf.
Kauffman, At home in the universe, Oxford: Sermonti, Dimenticare Darwin, Milano As in the biological systems the complexity of such systems rules out the possibility that a single model can account for the whole path of evolution, this must also be true in cognitive systems, that occupy the peak of complexity in the biological scale.
The epistemological limit of the functionalist approach is its "representationism". This aspect depends upon the identification of the "mental" with the formal calculations of a TM software. This leaves out the possibility that this approach can account for the fundamental capacity of the intentional human intelligence, the capacity of "symbolization", in other words to be able to constitute those logical symbols the abstractive-constitutive act belonging to the judgement of the intellectus in the Thomasian Scholastic teaching that should serve in a second moment to execute the typical operations of the representational thought, the inferential reasoning the ratio of the Thomasian Scholastic.
This is one of the fundamental theoretical reasons why H. Putnam repudiated that same functionalist approach which he somehow initiated cf.
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Putnam, and Moreover, and for the same reason, the functionalism places the mind within that "methodological solipsism," that shows an incapacity to face what is real and to learn from it, a quality that Carnap had already highlighted as being the fate of all formalist approaches to the semantic problem cf.
We understand, then, why the major impulses to exceed the functionalist representationism in the cognitive sciences derive from the field of robotics: It does need, however, to produce adequate actions in a constant interaction with the changing environment. Before teaching machines to simulate intelligent human beings, we should teach them at least to be animals. The development of an informational approach that is able to manipulate the semantic and not only the syntactic information as in the TM, encourages a close look at the complex dynamical systems which are of course generators of information and not simple manipulators of bits already constituted, as in the perfectly predictable determinism of the TM.
Mathematically speaking, a bit is a typical function that defines whether or not a certain element belongs to a set which is already constituted two-value logic: A shy attempt along these lines is that of the fuzzy logic many-value logic that allow a limited "elasticity" of the dividing line between the different sets.
We are, however, quite far from what we are asking today of the logic and mathematics of the near future. A neurological exemplification of what we are talking about here is given by the network of neurons in our brains that constantly redefine the topology of connections - and not only the statistical weights of their connections, as in the connectionist models —in order to maximize their capacity of parallel processing cf.
Perrone, Verso una teoria dinamica della computazione, in G. All of this makes the complex systems the most natural candidates for the study of the physical basis of the cognitive operations, and for all of those pre-symbolic and pre-representational operations characteristic of a bottom-up knowledge.
Such a path would have its neurologic correlate in the redefinition of the topology of connections in the network of neurons, activated in a reciprocal manner, within the globality of the cerebral dynamics. According to this scheme, the symbolic aspect of the representational thought, with all of its logical-deductive operations and associated formal calculations, would constitute the top-down path.
This would have its neurologic correlate in the operations performed by the network of fixed connections, where the calculations are known to be equivalent to those of a TM. The representational-symbolic moment would thus constitute a moment that is posterior to the constitution of the logical symbol, in the same way that the intentional, pre-symbolic moment is anterior to it.
The constitution of the symbol, in fact, needs a sort of "exit from the system", which is linked to the characteristic intellectual function of the mind.
Your Body and Mind Relationship, Revealed | HuffPost Life
In this way, the pre-symbolic moment and then the moment of the constitution of the symbol would be in a more consequential relationship with the representational functions of the symbolic thought.
A relationship where the Scholastic scheme intellectus-ratio could once again provide the working paradigm. Logic of Discovery vs Logic of Proof. What has been said up to now points towards that same direction of discovery and development, in a contemporary language, of the ancient analytical method in the study of logic.
The extraordinary development of the axiomatic method in mathematics and modern logic has obscured the problem of the logical study of the discovery procedures, known as the "analytical method" in the logical pre-Cartesian tradition, with a meaning different from that used in the modern era, which descends from a stoic and manualistic tradition of Pappus 4th century B.
Much of this oversight was based on the myth of the absolute demonstrative certainty that the deductive procedures supposedly had.
And the relation between state anxiety and attentional control was also discussed in this paper. Although most evidences supported the association between exercise and health-related outcomes, the variables mediating such relationship still remains largely unknown. Relevant questions were discussed in this heading. Cardiovascular fitness level, regarded as an important mediator, was confirmed to associate with cognitive performance, which were involved in two separate studies.
What makes that all the more remarkable is adopting randomized control observation design to examine the cognitive difference and simultaneously recorded participants' brain activity during operating Stroop task. The results confirmed the hypothesis that the status of being both normal weight and having high cardiovascular fitness is associated with better behavioral and later stages of electrophysiological indices of cognitive function.
Regarding the cognitive component benefited from cardiovascular fitness, Chu et al. This findings finally suggested that such cognitive advantage is related to the inhibition of task-irrelevant information and those processes required the devotion of greater amounts of attentional resources to a given task.
Moreover, trait self-control is another factor to influence the relationship between motivation toward exercise and subjective wellbeing by using structural equation modeling Brikiwhich attached importance for motivation during exercise and provided important insight for effective exercise instruction. Theoretical approach on the relationship between brain-mind-body practice and health is also addressed in this topic.
By contrast, Tang et al. Mind-body practice is a holistic system and works through the integration of different ingredients rather than separated components to achieve the beneficial effects.
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Moreover, an interesting approach in mind-body-brain practice is optimal performance. Similarly, another form of optimal experience—clutch state was attached great importance in investigating mind-body-brain association Swann et al.
In this issue, it is firstly demonstrated the relationship among optimal performance and mindfulness training Tang and Bruya. Also the necessity is addressed to explore underlying mechanisms e. In summary, these contributions in this research topic cover majority forms of brain-mind-body practice including mindfulness, Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, cognitive training and aerobic exercise.
Readers who are interested in any brain-mind-body practice could have access to basic knowledge on theoretical background and get a glimpse of new development and research findings. The publications in this special issue involve multi-modal techniques to uncover the effect of practice in psychological, physiological, neurobiological, and immunological levels.
Thus, all these studies enrich our understanding of neural mechanisms underlying healthy behaviors as well as the association between mind, body and brain, and offer new insights for developing possible behavioral practice interventions in subjects with neurological or mental dysfunction. Author contributions GW drafted and revised the manuscript. GS and YT finalized and revised the manuscript.
Conflict of interest statement The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest. If psychological explanation goes, so do the closely related notions of agency and moral responsibility. Clearly, a good deal rides on a satisfactory solution to the problem of mental causation [and] there is more than one way in which puzzles about the mind's "causal relevance" to behavior and to the physical world more generally can arise.
According to Descartes, minds and bodies are distinct kinds of "substance". Bodies, he held, are spatially extended substances, incapable of feeling or thought; minds, in contrast, are unextended, thinking, feeling substances.
If minds and bodies are radically different kinds of substance, however, it is not easy to see how they "could" causally interact. Princess Elizabeth of Bohemia puts it forcefully to him in a letter: For the determination of movement seems always to come about from the moving body's being propelled—to depend on the kind of impulse it gets from what sets it in motion, or again, on the nature and shape of this latter thing's surface.
Now the first two conditions involve contact, and the third involves that the impelling thing has extension; but you utterly exclude extension from your notion of soul, and contact seems to me incompatible with a thing's being immaterial Elizabeth is expressing the prevailing mechanistic view as to how causation of bodies works.
Causal relations countenanced by contemporary physics can take several forms, not all of which are of the push—pull variety. Freemansuggests that explaining mind—body interaction in terms of "circular causation" is more relevant than linear causation. Many suggest that neuroscience will ultimately explain consciousness: Abstract information processing models are no longer accepted as satisfactory accounts of the human mind.
Interest has shifted to interactions between the material human body and its surroundings and to the way in which such interactions shape the mind. Proponents of this approach have expressed the hope that it will ultimately dissolve the Cartesian divide between the immaterial mind and the material existence of human beings Damasio, ; Gallagher,