From ArticleWorld

There are many theories as to what constitutes the mind and after centuries of debate, there is still no one answer perhaps because the question is as much philosophical as scientific. Ancient Greek philosophers had their ideas as did the philosophers and theologians of the 17th and 18th centuries. Modern theories differ again and today there are two main views.

Pre-scientific versus scientific

Before psychology became a science in the late 1800’s, theories were based on philosophy and theology. The mind was considered a part of the soul and as such the divine essence of the person. The more modern scientific based theory is that the mind is synonymous with consciousness.

Two main views

The ‘substantial view’ of the mind acknowledges that the mind is based in the brain but maintain that it is separate from it. The idea was first put forward by Plato and taken up by Christian religions at a later stage. The mind was a manifestation of the soul which would return to God, its maker, after the death of the earthly body.

The ‘functional view’ takes the position that the mind is not a single entity but an umbrella term for different mental functions. They maintain that the mind is not autonomous from the body and therefore cannot survive death.

The future

The philosophy of the mind has been debated over centuries but perhaps the answer lies in the future. If the mind is autonomous as some believe then it can never be duplicated by a machine. If, however, it is a congregate of mental functions, then it may be possible for artificial intelligence to be created.