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Where is the human mind located?

I asked this very question in Religion and Spirituality. I received some really good responses. Now, I want to know what philosophers think. You may know that Descartes believed that the link between the mind (soul) and the body was the pineal gland.
The mind reminds me of God himself. God is impalpable, as is the mind. The mind is invisible, just like God is.
Can we all agree that the mind does indeed exist? Perhaps you may think that it would be silly of me to call God the analogue of the mind- it’s all right if you do not believe God exists. That is your choice. I choose to believe God exists. But this choice is not predicated on my intellect. I believe God exists because of what my heart tells me. There are times in life when we should rely on our gut feelings- just as there are times when we should depend on logic.
But in terms of a physical location, where is the mind? I want to go ahead and contest the argument that the mind is inside the skull or is the brain itself. How can we deduce that? Yes, the mind is a function or a corollary to the brain, but this does not mean that it is in the same location as the brain itself. Perhaps the mind is metaphysical. But how can you say that the mind is inside the skull? Are you saying that just because the brain reposes there?
And can we say that the mind does not exist just because we don’t have tangible proof that it does exist? What kinds of evidence do we have that the mind does exist?

24 COMMENTS

  1. I do not believe in a “God” as one typically would, my deistic beliefs are closer to agnosticism than anything else. I also do not believe in the existence of a “Soul”.
    The “mind” is nothing more than the workings of the brain. The brain and the mind are pretty much one in the same, but the mind itself is mainly the conscious awareness of short term and long term memory, the 5 primary senses, as well as the conscious calculation of logic and reasoning. There are parts of the brain that are not part of the mind, but there is no part of the mind that is not part of the brain.
    The mind has no “location” as it is not a physical object. The mind is a product of the brain, and is given a name separate from the brain to define a concept, not an object. The brain is located inside the skull, but the mind can be best thought of as existing inside the brain. However, a concept cannot have a physical manifestation, so the mind is technically “nowhere”.
    To better understand this think of a country full of people. Now, realize that all of those people are organized into various groups with various functions and are given various amounts of power. It is inevitable that some form of government will form. Government is a noun and is understood by most as a body of people that governs everyone below it. However, you cannot define the “location” of government, as it is simply the product of an organized group of people. It exists within that group of people, but is not located anywhere specifically, and is defined as a concept, not an object.
    Literally, our mind is the product of the functions of a physical object, and can be reasonably defined as a function of a complex organized interaction between matter and energy, much in the same way that a government can be reasonably defined as a function of complex organized interaction between people and groups.

  2. “The mind” is the collection of all of our senses, feelings, memories, thoughts, logic, emotions, fantasies, truths, beliefs, what your heart tells you, and even your gut instinct.. It is what makes you uniquely you. It is commonly associated with the brain because the human brain is where all these things get sorted out. But is more than that. It is metaphysical in a sense that whatever i see “in my mind’s eye” is as real to me as the computer screen i’m staring at, yet i cannot touch whatever it is that i saw.
    The idea of “God” is created within the human mind. We are the highest power in this world and we love and loathe this responsibility simultaneously. A “God” character was created to circumvent the idea that we are entirely responsible for whatever happens to us. A bitter pill is most easily swallowed when it is being shoved down your throat. So i a sort of round-about way. Our mind IS God.

  3. God most certainly exists – at least as a concept within the minds of several billion people if nowhere else.
    Self awareness is generally accepted as proof of our existence – and that would include the existence of the mind.
    You ask for physical location and for that there is only one answer – within the brain. But the mind is not a thing within a vessel. It is the product of a system, the key components of which are within the brain in the skull. Be that as it may I am not sure there is much value in the answer to this question. When one watches a television program it is pointless to ask ‘where’ the program is, its only important to have some level of understanding for the system that produces it.

  4. the human mind is nothing more than neural patterns, a network of brain systems, and low level electricity. the mind itself is the higher functionality of the brain- powered by chemical interaction with the body’s systems.

  5. Apparently Nothing happens to our mind when we die.
    I think that many people confuse mind with brain. Your brain is an amazing organ it controls our muscles, respiration, pulmonary function and a host of other lesser known functions, but it does not think.
    Thought is a function of mind that exists independent of anything physical. What appears to be the brain thinking in brain function imaging and other brain measuring attempts is only blood flow being measured to the part of the brain that acts as an interface between the mind and the body. This is the secondary function of the brain after regulating bodily functions. It acts as the interface, or the mind body connection.
    Without it there would be no way for the nonphysical mind to exert any control over the physical body.
    It is interesting that science has done its best to overlook this fact for so long. The silly idea that thought is some magical function of some mysterious electrochemical reaction is so vague as to be hilarious. There are several ways to disprove this theory beyond any shadow of a doubt.
    Being nonphysical in source your mind is in no way effected by the death of the body and loss of the mind body interface, or brain. Being nonphysical it is also non local, as locality is only a function/requirement of a physical object
    Love and blessings.
    don

  6. Your heart cannot tell you anything as it is a pump for blood. I’m going to assume you meant your emotions, which are also in your brain. (The limbic system to be precise) The mind is an emergent process resultant from the information created during physical transactions of the neurons.
    Just like on a computer we have the hardware and the software. The software doesn’t necessarily exist in and of itself, but is rather a result of computations and binary 1’s and 0’s of the hardware circuitry. It would be meaningless to reduce the internet to all 1’s and 0’s and wouldn’t make any pragmatic sense to us. It is rather in the interpretation of this data that gives it a form, a function and a presence.
    The mind is the same.
    Does the video game character Mario exist? Well in video games, he is a construct of data, a representation of ourselves; a homunculus, if you will.
    God is the same way, he exists ‘virtually’ as a concept or representation in our mind. An anthropomorphic extension of ourselves. Mario and God, of course don’t exist “in real life”, but they exist as concepts.

    • Excellent example showing that you have chosen to believe what the mind tells you about God. You’ve put your faith in what you listen to coming from the mind. If you take time to turn off the mind and refocus your thoughts on the word of God and begin studying what God says, it is he who promises that he will send his holy spirit and teach you the meaning. God said his own power is IN the word. The only thing you’ve got to lose is the lies of the mind.

  7. This is off the point of your question, but consider that most of the CONTENT of our minds is exterior to us. It comes from our language, culture, human history, formal education, our parents, peerage, books, art and literature, religions, etc. No one invents all the contents of his or her mind by himself. Most is borrowed, second-hand. A minority of it is our actual life experience.

  8. Descartes did indeed secure the concrete fact about thought but that was really it. The inquiring mind or the inescapable self still only proves that we are something, but doesn`t define what that something is. How ever it does establish that if nothing else we are of the mind, especially in terms of thought. I don`t think the intellect and mind are the same or indeed require each other. we do require faith that our thought comes from mind though. Where exactly is the mind though? This is a good question. we could say it is part of the brain but, the brain is more of a physical and tangible object, it can be touched, studied and dissected. We can explain the electrical connection that allows us to understand the thoughts that we have in mind. We can`t though point to where the mind is within the brain, if it is there at all even. It could be that electricity holds the answer. As our physical bodies need electricity to function it is possible that our spirit or essence, the spark of life, also is a form of electricity. So it seems to me that the mind could be the thing that tethers our soul/spirit to our physical bodies.

    • to 9/1/10 Finn Mchuil. Think of a transistor on a radio that works on electrical waves in order to transmit or communicate. Turning a knob will not only stop the sounds from being heard by the human ear, but we have the ability to change what we habitually listen to that causes us stress, anxiety, fear, anger, hate…or any other evil. God said that the brain has the ability to think of only one thought at any given time. Science agrees by adding that “multi-tasking” is impossible because all we do is short-circuit and divide our focus by absorbing only part of each task at hand. We are understanding and retaining or completing only part of any task. We are not part of the mind any more than we are part of the radio that we listen to night and day. The mind is the conduit that evil expresses itself through in order to captivate, entice, and capture its prey. One of the clever lies evil plays on us is pretending getting you to believe that evil and you are one. God told us to know the enemy, know its character, recognize your enemy. Until sin entered man we had been one with God, and it was sin that separated and divided.Sin is choosing another master other than God, focusing on and living for evil instead of focusing on God and all his goodness. Our purpose here is to uproot evil by not allowing its influence on us that spreads like a virus through the transmitter we call the mind. God said the mind IS the battlefield and that the mind WILL deceive us. See 12/21/14.

  9. Hi ,I’ve been thinking about your question ! It is interesting to know that when people are in a coma or they have amnesia and they come back it is very interesting to know that the coma person just felt a sleep and the one that is in a amnesia state can’t even remember things! I was trying to think about the brain and I have to say with out the spirit of just being you could not even think and memory is gone !Or is it the soul ?Not really knowing about what really makes it work ,makes me more sure that Father God was right we died when eve and adam sin by eating the for bidden fruit ,or we would know about the brain and so much more .Thanks for that question,God Bless you brother!PS. I’M saying the brain is Father God himself,can you believe that!

  10. pls, i want to know where the human mind is located in human body? i need scriptural back up. from what i have read so far from the above responses, i need a chapters and verses as a back up. thks

  11. Animals Have Brains but no Mind. Humans on the other hand have one. The mind is in control of the brain. Thoughts come are made the mind. The mind is in the brain.
    Before we start not believing in God, we should know that there are so so so so many thing we don’t know yet. e.g. Origin of Life. (Don’t tell me evolution; cos its scientifically false. Darwins work is variation of species and as good as the theory that d earth is in the center of the universe)

  12. Animals Have Brains but no Mind. Humans on the other hand have one. The mind is in control of the brain. Thoughts come are made the mind. The mind is in the brain.
    Before we start not believing in a God, we should know that there are so so so so many thing we don’t know yet. e.g. Origin of Life. (Don’t tell me evolution; cos its scientifically false. Darwins work is variation of species and as good as the theory that d earth is in the center of the universe). The mind is responsible for everythin artificial. also for war, racism, murder

  13. Thank you very much for all the suggestions , clearly we can see from all evidence that the brain is an access path for the mind to the body, because the mind has no location in the brain which is simply an organ, cause u cnt tell me my thoughts are within my brain, cause it cannot be physically proven and also our brains are not computers so pls do not confuse that, and from all these clearly we can see that God indeed exists … And is not some kind of delusion, I have seen evidence of the existence of the most high physical manifestations your eyes can behold but your human mind cannot comprehend. As we can also see that animals have brains too but not a mind like ours so we can now see that indeed we are the dna of a most high God and stand out and are not bound by some piece of meat in our heads and those who have truly connected with the spiritual can testify that there is more that we can percieve in our minds than is bound with the physical by this I mean what we sense through our physical organs . I’m saying that we can percieve through the spiritual, meaning that our minds is where we think up and become concious of stuff , you would also notice as humans we get inspiration not from ourselves but from external forces we cnt see or comprehend we just come up with them you can’t specifically say you thought maybe a part of this before the other it just comes in, thereby meaning that our minds are not of the physical due to EVIDENCE that we can percieve from the unordinary , pls does this make sense to you.. Thank you

  14. Only a foolish human would say there’s no GOD! He exist even before the thoughts of HIM creating humans… Our minds are been giving to us by HIM, to do, and undo- just as a wise man will say “I believe in GOD” and as well a fool will say “there’s no GOD”.it’s your choice!! But it is better to live your life as though there’s GOD and die to discover HE really is, than living proclaiming there’s no GOD then die to find out HE exist… Then you’re doomed

  15. Where is the mind located? When you study the Word of God you’ll be able to figure it out. First, think back to the Garden of Eden where “man” was expelled from for partaking in the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. “Knowledge” is located in the mind. Eden means: a place of delight. Man was placed in a protected atmosphere of heaven-like bliss. Originally man was encased within the womb of God, (the Garden of Bliss). Once rebellion (evil) entered into man, he was “expelled from God (the garden) and no longer was one with God. We became divided from God and manifested outwardly what we had chosen inwardly. We experienced a new birth of flesh. Christ told his followers that man had “to be born again in the spirit before he could enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. We were banished from the pure presence of God Once divided our flesh became the outer manifestation of a wild, untamed garden filled with thorns and weeds. We became rooted in the “tree” of good and evil. Where we were once one with God and undivided, we began to live for ourselves instead of for God. When “evil” entered the “garden” he “talked” to man in lies, deceit, falsehoods and accusations. God told man that “the mind IS the battlefield.” God said, “Don’t pay attention to everything your eyes see or what your ears hear, and know that the mind will deceive you.” What does God call the evil one? A deceiver, a liar, a murderer, and a thief. Who do you think is still talking to your spirit and flesh every second of your life? Who do you think is the one who constantly reminds you of failures, sins, and strives to bury you in false accusations, trickery and cunning half truths? Who do you think you are talking to in defense of yourself, who are you angry with, fighting with, and forever offering excuses to? Why is man still partaking in conversation with evil, and still allowing evil a place in the garden? The mind is a place of battle and attack by evil. God told us to give the battle to him and he would fight it (evil) for us “because we fight not with flesh and blood but with spirit”. The mind is an transporter that sin created for communication between evil and us. God told us that he speaks to our spirit, not the mind, and that our spirit, and he lives in our heart. God said “Your treasure lives in your heart. The purpose of the brain is to command and direct the body of flesh. God told us that we should meditate on HIS word/commands/rules every day…in this way we are allowing God to be our Lord and Savior. “…Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH (in the flesh), AS it is in heaven…” Each of us makes choices every day to live as it is in heaven or practice living as it is in hell. God said man cannot serve two masters. We cannot serve good and evil…for we will learn to love the one and hate the other. Each of us, therefore, must KNOW God’s will, return to being the true character of God, and root out all the evil thoughts in the mind that has led to the outer manifestation of all of our evil actions, words, and deeds. We must learn to live the life that we were created to be. And as you study the Bible you will be relieved to know that the only solid foundation is the God of the Bible because God said, “There is ONLY ONE God, and ONLY ONE religion and that religion is the Word of God. Only man has created many god’s and many religions. Our purpose here is to obey the one true God so that we will be able to be one with him for eternity. Heaven, you don’t want to miss that.

  16. I’m writing about this as a fanction of language. In Asia, in Japan, when asked where the mind is, people point to their heart. Is this a foreign cultural perception, or is this just misinterpretation of an English word? Surely, the mind is NOT the brain, but it seems to eminate from the brain. In Buddhism, Clear Mind is the emptiness from which all phenomena, all dualities, arise from. Mind is a dimension that we all can access, and our brains are the lense.
    In my Japanese-English dictionary, ‘mind’ is ‘kokoro’. But ‘kokoro’ means ‘heart.’ Is this a philisophical distinction, or is this merely a mistranslation? I’ve concluded it is the latter. The mind is NOT kokoro, it is not the heart. There is a relationship between them. But they are not the same.

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