Nature of Mind

Year 10 Philosophy

Nature of Mind

Term 4


 Dualism discusses, suggests, that even though the brain and mind are made of different substances they are able to interact. The physical matter is our brains and body's, the non-physical matter is our minds/souls.



Qualia, a strength of dualism, is the experience of how something makes you feel. Using your five senses, smell, taste, sight, hearing and touch, to create these experiences that trigger your emotions. Example, smelling fresh bread makes you feel hungry, tasting the fresh bread makes you feel good, etc.

  • Allows for introspection, which is the self-observation and reporting of conscious inner thoughts, desires and sensations.



  •  The theory of dualism is overcomplicated
  • Within our universe each physical reaction must have a physical cause - dualism does not suggset this.
  • Out of date with our current knowledge of life and the study of the working of human brains/minds



Behavioural (or "behavioral") theory in psychology is a very substantial field: follow the links to the left or right for introductions to some of its more detailed contributions impinging on how people learn in the real world. How I have the effrontery to produce a single page on it amazes even me, whatever my reservations about it!

Behaviourism is primarily associated with Pavlov (classical conditioning) in Russia and with Thorndike, Watson and particularly Skinner in the United States (operant conditioning). 

  • Behaviourism is dominated by the constraints of its (naïve) attempts to emulate the physical sciences, which entails a refusal to speculate about what happens inside the organism. Anything which relaxes this requirement slips into the cognitive realm. 
  • Much behaviourist experimentation is undertaken with animals and generalised. 
  • In educational settings, behaviourism implies the dominance of the teacher, as in behaviour modification programmes. It can, however, be applied to an understanding of unintended learning.

For our purposes, behaviourism is relevant mainly to: 

  •  Skill development, and
  • The "substrate" (or "conditions", as Gagné puts it) of learning.



Materialists point out that they know matter exists but that we can’t prove the existence of non-matter, as the dualists proposes we do. Mental states are physical states of the brain, i.e., If my brain is in a physical state where I am in pain, I will experience pain. Instead of our minds and inner thoughts manipulating and directing our physical sensations, materialism suggests that it is our brain that causes our feelings.


  • Suggesting that only the physical exists is a simple theory.
  • Removes the problem with behaviourism - someones behaviour may be different to their brain states.