‘Know thyself’ was the greatest saying of Socrates; ‘Tat tavam Asi’ is the Mahavkya which led to many interpretations; ‘I could never catch my self’ was the skeptical remark of Hume; Descartes ‘Cogito ergo sum’ was possibly the best known philosophic statement in the modern times; self is the unity of apperception for Kant, and the enquiry about the self goes on and on…..
What am I ? what is it that holds body and mind together, have been the most intriguing questions, which has baffled the philosophers of mind for many centuries. How are the mental states related to the physical states of the brain; is one question which has tremendous implications for the future of philosophy? this question, which was addresses as the Mind –Body problem down the centuries refuses to go away chiefly owing to the elusive nature of consciousness.
Cognitive Science is simply the science dealing with mind and intelligence. It is a multilateral field involving several academic intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, anthropology and so on. The researches therefore have a discovery of out looks and employ different methods of study. The linguists try to understand the basic structures of language; the neuroscientists attempt to understand the nature of brain; the cognitive anthropologists are engaged in understanding how human thought and thinking process very in different cultural settings; and of course, philosopher of mind delve deep into the nature of Mind-Body relationship and so on.
The philosophical implication of cognitive Science are many. Philosophy of Mind is closely allied with theoretical and experimental work in Cognitive Science; Metaphysical conclusions could be understood better with the developments in neuroscience; Epistemology depends on scientific findings on mental structures and learning procedures and even Ethics in linked to psychology of moral knowledge.
Cognitive Science could help us look at many of the age old philosophic problems in a new scientific light. Mind needs to be looked at from several dimensions physical, philosophy, symbolic, computational, psychological and even spiritual. In a word, we should adopt a Gestalt attitude viz. that the mind as a ‘whole is more that the sum of its part; much more than the mere brain. Perhaps, a better and more comprehensive understanding could surely emerge.
My research work “A Philosophical Study of the Concept of Mind (with special reference to Rene Descartes, David Hume and Gilbert Ryle)” is related to Philosophy of Mind. The present programme can help me in improving my knowledge of certain key concepts and it will make us familiar as with practical implications and new opportunity and vital problems of important areas of philosophy. There is a great need of these type of programme, which play a important role in giving a dynamic extension to philosophy. it will sharpen my analytical ability as well as enrich my knowledge as I feel that philosophy is a friend of wisdom. It carries within itself the love of a just and moderate life of human knowledge which is integrated to life. Hence, we say that philosophy is a reflection on all forms of human experiences.
Note: this paper is sent to National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore for the summer school 2007.