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Mind and Body

  • Date Submitted: 01/28/2010 06:29 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 37.9 
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Much of the intellectual history of psychology has


involved the attempt to come to grips with the problem


of mind and body and how they interact.






While the philosophical distinction between mind and


body can be traced back to the Greeks, it is due to


the influential work of René Descartes, (written


around the 1630’s) that we owe the first systematic


account of the mind/body relationship. When Descartes'


friend and frequent correspondent, Marin Mersenne,


wrote to him of Galileo's fate at the hands of the


Inquisition, Descartes immediately suppressed his own


treatise. As a result, the world's first extended


essay on physiological psychology was published only


well after its author's death. In this essay, he


proposed a mechanism for automatic reaction in


response to external events. According to his


proposal, external motions affect the peripheral ends


of the nerve fibrils, which in turn displace the


central ends. As the central ends are displaced, the


pattern of interfibrillar space is rearranged and the


flow of animal spirits is thereby directed into the


appropriate nerves.   This is the reason he has been


credited with the founding of the reflex theory.  






        Descarte was the first to talk about mind/body


interactions, and thus had a great influence in later


psychologists and thinkers.   He proposed that not only


body can influence mind, but that mind could also


affect body.






        Years later, the work of Nicolas Malebranche was


probably the most influential provider of


occasionalism.   Occasionalism deals with the


contradiction that if the nature of causality is such


that causes and effects must have a necessary


connection and be of a similar type, then mind/body

...

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