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What are you if not your mind?

The mind can only be studied using a multidisciplinary approach. In this video, Mark Solms explains what he means Neuropsychoanalysis.

By asking the question, ‘What are you – if not your mind?’, some fundamental questions are being raised. The mind is studied implicitly and explicitly by a range of different disciplines. The focus varies from the anatomical and physiological scene of action in neurosciences to the societal questions about being human in the Humanities. Yet on their own, none of these single disciplinary perspectives has a completely satisfactory response to the question, ‘what is a mind?’.

In this course reading, What is a Mind? – Perspectives, I describe how a range of disciplines approach the question: What is a Mind? I will be making reference to these different disciplinary approaches later in the course:

  • Humanities
  • Philosophy
  • Arts
  • Psychology
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Neuroscience
  • Computer Science

While perspectives from the Humanities and the Arts do not expect to find an answer to the question of being human, other disciplines such as Psychology seek to understand the mind empirically and study it as rigorously as one would study any other object.

The What is a Mind? – Perspectives reading argues for the need of an interdisciplinary approach to studying the mind. Neuropsychoanalysis tries to overcome the weaknesses inherent in narrowly focused approaches by combining disciplinary perspectives. For example, it embraces all the complexities of subjectivity and the richness of lived experience by correlating the Humanities-like knowledge derived from the psychoanalytical methods with the objective data derived from neuroscientific experiments. In this way, the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches act as mutual correctives upon each other.

Which and how have disciplinary perspectives shaped your own understanding of what is a mind?

A glossary of terms, as used in this course, is provided as a reference since other disciplines you may be more familiar with have sometimes used these terms differently. You may find revisiting this glossary useful as you continue through the course. We have also compiled a reading list that include books that delve more deeply into ideas introduced in this course.

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What is a Mind?

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