Considering that there is a great deal of literature indicating that what we experience and know comes from outside the brain, on what basis do you claim that mind is a function of the brain?
It is difficult to understand the meaning of, ". . . what we experience and know comes from outside the brain."
This seems to suggest that "thoughts," "knowledge," whatever, are "out there" somewhere and the mind is experiencing them analogously to radio and TV sets receiving broadcasted programs.
Assuming that interpretation were correct even though it CANNOT be verified, it could not happen if there were no physical radio or TV sets which are analogous to our physical brains.
First we must realize that though knowledge is experience, experience is not necessarily knowledge and that knowledge is WARRANTED (based on evidence) belief.
Of course, we are constantly being bombarded by external stimuli as well as stimuli within our bodies which include our brains.
When we can verify, through the rules of evidence, that what we experience in fact exists substantively or is the function of substance (i.e., physical/energy, "reality"), we may claim it as knowledge.
The events or facts that we claim as knowledge must be possible, probable, predictable, recurrable, public, directly or indirectly verifiable, and compatible with a comprehensive body of relevant facts, theories, generalizations, and hypotheses, and must fit coherently without contradiction.
If an experience does not meet these requirements of evidence, it is subjective and cannot be the basis of a claim to knowledge--i.e., warranted belief.
All our knowledge and experiences are functions of the brain; hence, "content" of the "mind."
Life and mind emerge from some of the physical and chemical substances of our bodies just as the ability to smother fire emerges from combining hydrogen and oxygen in a 2 to 1 proportion -- water.
Add one more oxygen atom (a 2 to 2 proportion (hydrogen peroxide) and it will have the ability to change brunettes into blondes.
Add 2 more oxygen atoms and one sulfur atom to the hydrogen peroxide and it will have the ability (as sulfuric acid) to dissolve metal.
None of the individual atoms has the qualities I've cited.
From where come the new qualities?
So it is with the qualities we call "life" and "mind."
To say that mind is not a function of the physical brain is analogous to saying that the above qualities cited do not emerge from the given proportions and constituents of the atoms.
Every human being (and lower forms of sentient creatures) have mental experiences not acquired through the five sense faculties; one example: dreams. However, the construction of the dream "images" were first enabled through some if not all of our sense faculties.
Can any human being be conscious of mental experiences if it does not have a (physical) brain to process the "incoming" stimuli?
It is the processing (the functioning of 10 billion neurons) of those stimuli that we call "experience," i.e., mind.
It does not matter what are the stimuli ("outside") or in the brain "causing" the experiences.
Every thought, every belief, etc., is an interaction of neurons. Scientists have well established that such interactions can be altered by natural, artificial, accidental, behavioral, educational, and (have been especially) by evolutionary means.
According to all available evidence, without that functioning brain, there can be no experiences or knowledge.
The pure mental SUBSTANCE of Descartes has long been rejected by scientists and analytical philosophers.
Even a dead brain has no mind just as a dead body has no personality.
Without a functioning brain, there cannot be a "content of mind" conscious, subconscious, or unconscious.
© 1997 by Pasqual S. Schievella