Last time, I wrote about the common category mistakes we make. We are in error when we think of minding as it if were like the body or some bodily organ. It is not. Since minding is not only not the body but also not like the body, it follows that minding cannot be healthy or ill (though the brain, a part of the body, can be healthy or ill), and it follows further that minding cannot be treated, diagnosed, prescribed, or cured. From erroneous conceptions and assumptions, we arrive at hazardous courses of action.
Now, if we are not warranted in speaking of mental activities as if they occupied a spatial location (where is the mind?), as if they were a kind of thing (what is the mind?), and as if they were a container (what takes place in there anyway?), then how shall we speak of mental activities?
Alva Noe, a philosopher of mind and cognitive science, has a nice way of speaking of mental activities. These are the complex mutual interactions of brain, body, and environment. Without a brain, there would be no minding. Without the kind of body we have (with our hands, our turning neck, our eyes, etc.), we wouldn’t experience the world in the way we do. And without the kind of environment we find ourselves in, we wouldn’t have minding–or at least not the kind of minding that is the one with which we are familiar. Of course, minding is not identical with the brain, the body, or the environment. Conceivably, a different sort of brain-body-environment configuration would produce a different sort of being, only not the one we recognize in our daily lives, in works of literature, and elsewhere.