MIND AND BODY

The first question, of how mental and bodily processes interact, refers to an issue that is as old as western thinking on questions of the mind. It has been rephrased and reformulated endlessly over the centuries, has inspired major schools of thought such as materialism versus spiritualism, and appears in many guises throughout a variety of religious and belief systems. Progress in investigating and measuring emotions makes understanding the mind- body relationship more important. In recent decades the sober formulation of the mind-body problem is some general form of functionalism. How can we formulate, understand, and construct the relation between mental and physical processes such that we understand the impact of the material environment on our mental processes and the material basis of these mental processes themselves?

Of course, science, as we have known it for at least a century, has seemingly sidestepped the body-mind problem just as it has tended to ignore the other minds problem. Yet it is fair to say that the recent successes of affective science have reenergized these old questions. We can say that none of the traditional (and often well-founded) objections or stumbling blocks on the road to a science of emotions disappeared during the years since the point when a scientific study of emotions was deemed possible. Thus, measuring emotions in a scientific way is a problem as overwhelming as it was 30, or even 100 years ago.

 
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