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A phrenological mapping<ref>Oliver Elbs, Neuro-Esthetics: Mapological foundations and applications (Map 2003), (Munich 2005)</ref> of the brain. Phrenology was among the first attempts to correlate mental functions with specific parts of the brain.
René Descartes' illustration of mind/body dualism. Descartes believed inputs are passed on by the sensory organs to the epiphysis in the brain and from there to the immaterial spirit.<ref name="Descartes1641">Descartes, R. (1641) Meditations on First Philosophy, in The Philosophical Writings of René Descartes, trans. by J. Cottingham, R. Stoothoff and D. Murdoch, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984, vol. 2, pp. 1-62.</ref>

A mind {{#invoke:IPAc-en|main}} is the set of cognitive faculties that enables consciousness, perception, thinking, judgement, and memory—a characteristic of humans, but which also may apply to other life forms.<ref name="dict">Dictionary.com, "mind": "1. (in a human or other conscious being) the element, part, substance, or process that reasons, thinks, feels, wills, perceives, judges, etc.: the processes of the human mind. 2. Psychology. the totality of conscious and unconscious mental processes and activities. 3. intellect or understanding, as distinguished from the faculties of feeling and willing; intelligence."</ref><ref>Google definition, "mind": "The element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness." [1]</ref>

A lengthy tradition of inquiries in philosophy, religion, psychology and cognitive science has sought to develop an understanding of what a mind is and what its distinguishing properties are. The main question regarding the nature of mind is its relation to the physical brain and nervous system – a question which is often framed as the mind–body problem, which considers whether mind is somehow separate from physical existence (dualism and idealism<ref>Redding, Paul, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), forthcoming. "Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel". See section "2.1 Background: “Idealism” as understood in the German tradition".</ref>), or the mind is identical with the brain or some activity of the brain,<ref>Smart, J. J. C., "The Mind/Brain Identity Theory", The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), [2]</ref> deriving from and/or reducible to physical phenomena such as neuronal activity (physicalism). Another question concerns which types of beings are capable of having minds, for example whether mind is exclusive to humans, possessed also by some or all animals, by all living things, or whether mind can also be a property of some types of man-made machines.

Whatever its relation to the physical body it is generally agreed that mind is that which enables a being to have subjective awareness and intentionality towards their environment, to perceive and respond to stimuli with some kind of agency, and to have consciousness, including thinking and feeling.<ref name=dict/><ref name="oxford">Oxford American College Dictionary, "mind": "1. the element of a person that enables them to be aware of the world and their experiences, to think, and to feel; the faculty of consciousness and thought."</ref>

Important philosophers of mind include Mulla Sadra, Plato, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Martin Heidegger, John Searle, Daniel Dennett, Thomas Nagel, David Chalmers and many others. The description and definition is also a part of psychology where psychologists such as Sigmund Freud and William James have developed influential theories about the nature of the human mind. In the late 20th and early 21st centuries the field of cognitive science emerged and developed many varied approaches to the description of mind and its related phenomena. The possibility of non-human minds is also explored in the field of artificial intelligence, which works closely in relation with cybernetics and information theory to understand the ways in which human mental phenomena can be replicated by nonbiological machines.

The concept of mind is understood in many different ways by many different cultural and religious traditions. Some see mind as a property exclusive to humans whereas others ascribe properties of mind to non-living entities (e.g. panpsychism and animism), to animals and to deities. Some of the earliest recorded speculations linked mind (sometimes described as identical with soul or spirit) to theories concerning both life after death, and cosmological and natural order, for example in the doctrines of Zoroaster, the Buddha, Plato, Aristotle, and other ancient Greek, Indian and, later, Islamic and medieval European philosophers.


Mind sections
Intro  Etymology  Definitions  Mental faculties  Mental content  Relation to the brain  Evolutionary history of the human mind  Philosophy of mind  Scientific study  Mental health  Non-human minds  In religion  In pseudoscience  See also  References  External links  

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