Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Human Mind

"We consider knowledge always worthwhile and  to be prized, though one kind may be more so, either because  it is more exact or because its object is more dignified and wonderful. On both these grounds we may place highest the study of the soul." (Aristotle, On the Soul, 1:1)

[This is a very short look at the parts of the mind and why they are what they are. Again, any thoughts are welcome!]

So far we've come to a definition of the goal, a method of getting there, and a place to start. Now all that's left to do is to fill in the gaps! That's the difficult part.

Having covered logic, beauty, and wisdom, it seems that the place to begin would be in the mind, since all of these relate essentially to it. Logic is how reason works, wisdom is when it's orderly and correct, and beauty is in something that pleases.

But so far, while not using his method, we've only got a Cartesian start to what the mind is like. I think, however, that we can add some more pieces.

First, and most easily, we can add what we might call the Assent. Since knowledge requires true, justified belief, and if it requires this, it requires not only a part to justify (the thinking part), and to be true (the external reality, which is as yet unknown), but also a part to believe. This seems to be a deep part, related thoroughly to the part which thinks.

We can next add the Memory, since we are able to think about things which have happened to us in our own past, but not in someone else's. This means we each have a memory.

Next we can add the Attention, by which we direct our mind to some things and not others. We don't always think about everything, so we must have something to focus our thoughts. And this can't be the result of the thinking part itself, since we would first have to be thinking about everything to then think ourselves into focus. So something must exist that does this before we are conscious of the thing in our mind.

The final part which we might add would be the Emotions. Just like we don't always think about everything we think, we don't always act on all of our thoughts. So we have to have some kind of filter for what goes out, that determines if we act or do not.

Furthermore, we have to have senses to bring things into our mind from outside, and the imagination to bring them to our attention from within, and also the active energy to make the ideas our emotions drive us to into real actions.

That gives us eight total parts to the mind, and will form a good basis for anything to come involving the mind.

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