A mind ( /ˈmaɪnd/) is the complex of cognitive faculties that enables consciousness, thinking, reasoning, perception, and judgement—a characteristic of human beings, but which also may apply to other life forms.
A long tradition of inquiries in philosophy, religion, psychology and cognitive science has sought to develop an understanding of what mind is and what are its distinguishing properties. The main questions 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), deriving from and reducible to physical phenomena such as neurological processes (physicalism), or whether the mind is identical with the brain or some activity of the brain. Another question concerns which types of being 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 a consciousness, including thinking and feeling.
Important philosophers of mind include Plato, Descartes, Leibniz, Kant, Martin Heidegger, John Searle, Daniel Dennett and many others. The description and definition is also a part of psychology where psychologists such as Siegmund Freud, William James have developed influential theories about the nature of the human mind. In the late 20th and early 21st century 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 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.
Read more about Mind: Attributes, Mental Faculties, Mental Content, Brain and Mind, Etymology, Philosophy of Mind, Evolutionary History of The Human Mind, Mortality of The Mind, Mental Health, Animal Intelligence, Artificial Intelligence, Religious Perspectives, Buddhism & Mind
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“He is the essence that inquires.
He is the axis of the star;
He is the sparkle of the spar;
He is the heart of every creature;
He is the meaning of each feature;
And his mind is the sky,
Than all it holds more deep, more high.”
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—Vivian Gornick (b. 1935)