Johnson, Galen

Advisor Department





philosophy; mind; cognitive; science; neuroscience; epistemology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.


The Mind in Motion

Shayan Gates

Faculty Sponsor: Galen Johnson, Philosophy

The origin of most scientific disciplines can be traced back to a few philosophical insights posed by a few curious thinkers throughout time, and cognitive science is no exception.While intrigue has nearly always surrounded the human mind and its relation to the brain, validation of this relationship has not been so easy to come by, and there are still areas of contention during this time of advancement in neurological sciences and related technologies.

This topic is very broad (to say the least) so I decided to confine this paper to some of the philosophers whose work I enjoyed reading most during my time at URI. In this sense, it will be somewhat of a “Greatest Hits” of my undergraduate career which, while certainly appealing to my nostalgic sensibilities, will also parlay nicely into medical school where I hope to become a neurologist. Some of the philosophers included in this project are Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William James, John Dewey, David Hume, John Locke, Martin Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Renee Descartes and Plato (American Transcendentalists, Pragmatists, British Empiricists, Phenomenologists, and Rationalists).

Overall, there are four topics of discussion, and they pertain to Experience, Emotion, Memory, and Imagination. These will conclude with a fifth section written in the spirit of Pragmatism, which aims to sum up the overall value or takeaway from everything that was previously said. Ultimately, the goal is to create an interesting, yet palatable, discussion about the way our minds and brains work, and how knowing these things about ourselves can work to our benefit.