About the question 'Can the mind mind affect the brain?': Some responses are 'no' because the mind is a physical 'thing' or structure (if I read it correctly). Yet if the Mind is only a physical structure why couldn't the mind affect the brain if they are both physical systems? The brain, the physical system regarding active neural excitation events and the mind, the physical system dealing with the manipulation and organization of 'established' patterns of neural-signalling. The 'higher-level' organization of the physical system, the mind, could manipulate or alter the physical system called the brain.

  • $\begingroup$ The mind is not a physical structure. The brain is. The mind exists because the brain does. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Jan 19 '15 at 9:16
  • $\begingroup$ The operating system in a computer system like an A.I. system is a physical structure even though it is a 'conglomeration' of dynamic processes that is organizing and manipulating other programs and packages of information. What about a personality simulation , it is a collection of self- sustaining programs that presumedly can run on many different computer systems , like multiple realizability? It is 'made' of dynamic physical structures yet it can simulate a 'mind'. $\endgroup$ – 201044 Jan 19 '15 at 17:03
  • $\begingroup$ Can certain behavioral 'programs' of the 'mind' be consciously repeated and over time this cause actual changes in the physical architecture of the brain? $\endgroup$ – 201044 May 8 '15 at 17:32

The question that you are referring to is worded in a way that I think is leading to the confusion. The question in the title is "Can the mind affect the brain?" but in the question body the final question posed is "Does [a thought producing a tear] not contradict the (physical) law of cause and effect?".

The answer is yes to the title question: the mind can affect the brain. The answer is no to the question posed in the body: it is not a contradiction of the law of cause and effect because the mind is a physical entity.

So you are exactly right, that the two are mutually interactive.

  • $\begingroup$ Both the question and many of the answers also seem to confuse the mind and the brain. See also: cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5755/… and my answer to that question, explaining why the philosophical concept of "mind" might not be the most useful concept in the cognitive sciences. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Jan 11 '15 at 9:39
  • $\begingroup$ Much of the confusion on this site, to my observation, is a result of the fact that many persons asking and answering questions are lay people (which is not a problem in itself) that (and this is the problem) use philosophical concepts that have no place in psychology and the cognitive sciences or everyday words that are loaded with "folk psychology" (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Folk_psychology). Many questions I see here are not questions about pychology at all, but questions about folk psychology or even religious beliefs (e.g. soul), and cannot be answered from a psychological standpoint. $\endgroup$ – user3116 Jan 11 '15 at 9:45
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't there a philosophy of psychology? Wittgenstein , Kant , Daniel C Dennett and many others have written about the mind and consciousness. $\endgroup$ – 201044 Mar 29 '15 at 4:10

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