Brain vs Mind

What is the brain? What is the mind? Some arguments on the brain vs mind, the differences, the similarities. Are they the same thing? Are they separate? A brief description of the arguments are below, along with our view.


When we think about the mind we often think about the grey and white lump of matter contained within our skulls, more commonly known as the brain. Doctors easily define the brain, being a physical part of us that can be measured, weighed, inspected etc. However doctors can agree upon no single, definition of the mind. Some, monists, will argue that the brain and the mind are in fact the same thing, and yet others, dualists, argue that the brain and the mind are separate. The point is that no one actually knows, and no one can definitively say one way or the other.

Our brain can be split up into three main sections.


The largest of these sections is the cerebrum and is the centre for intellectual functioning or logical reasoning.


The second is the Cerebellum, located at the rear of the skull and it’s in charge of balance and helps us not fall over etc.


The third is the Medulla, also known as the brain stem, a stem leading into the spinal column and helps to handle involuntary tasks like breathing. These three areas work together to help carry out the role of cognition.


The mind is not the physical structure. When we consider the way we refer to the mind and the brain as separate entities and look at the language that we use in common place scenarios, such as “I changed my mind”. Surely we are referring to a mind being different to our brain, aren’t we? No one could suggest that we’re physically taking our brain and swapping it for another? That’s the realm of science fiction.

I will leave the differences here because the complex discussion of the physical changes in the brain chemistry and neurons firing etc are best described by others more knowledgeable and far better trained than I.

As you may have guessed, I fit firmly into the dualist camp for this discussion. For the purposes of this site we will treat the mind and the brain differently.