Philosophy

Articles

Mind, Brain and Mental Illness

Leslie Stevensona1

a1 University of St Andrews

The distinction between mental illness and bodily illness would seem to presuppose some sort of distinction between mind and body. But dualist theories that the mind is a substance separable from the body, or that mental events could occur without any bodily events, raise ancient conceptual problems, which I do not propose to review here. What I want to do is to examine the psychiatric implications of materialist theories, which hold that the mind is the brain, or a function of the brain. If all character has a basis in chemistry, can we still attribute some mental distress to character and some to chemistry, as if the two categories were different?