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Studying the mind

Can we ever know whether something else has subjectivity? Watch as Mark Solms delves deeper into subjectivity - the first defining property of a mind.

The mind is first and foremost something subjective. You can’t see a mind, you can only ever be one.

Assuming there is a subjective aspect to everything, does that then mean that all objects have a mind? Panpsychism is a concept in philosophy which says that this is indeed the case – that there’s a subjective aspect to everything – a carpet, a monkey, a bacterium – which must mean that everything has a mind.

The problem of other minds is a key question in philosophy which sits at the other extreme. It says that because the mind is something subjective, you can’t observe it, you can only ever be one. So how do we study the mind if we can’t observe it? How do you perform scientific experiments, which demand objectivity, on something that is fundamentally subjective?

These questions lie at the heart of psychology, which is the science of the mind. After centuries of grappling with these problems, psychologists concluded that because we cannot directly observe the mind, we should rather study behaviours which are objective manifestations of the mind. In fact behaviourism went further to say that the mind itself does not exist, we can only rely on and study behaviours. In this way, the psyche came to be excluded from the science of the mind.

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What is a Mind?

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