Philosophy of the Mind

The philosophy of the mind studies the ontological status and internal nature of mental and consciousness states, specifically, their relations to bodily states, behaviors, and physical states generally. One of this field’s central metaphysical issues is the matter of body and mind, engaged with questions such as what differentiates mental and consciousness states and are they identical to brain states? How is it plausible that there are cause-and-effect relations between mental and physical states, especially between mental states and behavior? Does our knowledge of mental states differ from how we perceive physical states? What is the ontological status of subjective mental and consciousness states (“the hard problem of consciousness”)? How is mental content created, and is it conditioned by the environment? More issues encompass the nature of different kinds of mental states, their functionality, and their relations to other mental states—for instance, the differences between thoughts, beliefs, judgments, intentions, wants, feelings, imaginations, mental images, and perceptual experiences. Philosophy of the mind also addresses questions of self-identity (what is a “self”?), determinism and freedom of choice, the nature of human rationalism versus artificial intelligence, and more.