What is the Mind Study Sections

    The mind is a philosophical category that expresses the higher type of mental activity opposed to reason. The distinction between mind and reason as two “abilities of the soul” is already outlined in ancient philosophy: if reason as the lowest form of thinking knows the relative, the earthly and the finite, then the mind directs to the comprehension of the absolute, the divine and the infinite. The isolation of the mind as a higher stage of cognition than in the understanding was realized in the philosophy of the Renaissance in Nicholas of Cusa and J. Bruno, being connected by them with the ability of the mind to comprehend the unity of opposites that breed the mind.

    The most detailed development of the idea oftwo levels of mental activity in the concepts of intelligence and reason is in German classical philosophy – primarily in Kant and Hegel. According to Kant, “all our knowledge begins with the senses, then goes on to the understanding and ends in the mind” (Kant I. Works in 6 vols. M., 1964, p. 340). Unlike the “finite” understanding limited in its cognitive abilities by sensually given material, on which the a priori forms of reason are superimposed, thinking at its higher stage of reason is characterized by the desire to go beyond the limits of the sensible contemplation of the “finite” experience, set by the possibilities, to the search for unconditional bases of cognition, to the comprehension of the absolute. The desire for this goal must be laid, according to Kant, in the very essence of thinking, but its real achievement is impossible, and, trying to achieve it, the mind falls into unsolvable contradictions – antinomies.

    The reason, according to Kant, can, therefore, perform only a regulative function of searching for unattainable ultimate bases of cognition, the attempts of its realization are called to lead to the discovery of the fundamental limitation of cognition by the sphere of “phenomena” and the inaccessibility of “things-in-themselves.” “Constituent”, in Kant’s terminology, the function of real cognition within the “finite” experience remains with the mind. Kant, therefore, does not simply state the presence of reason as a cognitive attitude, he exercises a critical reflection in relation to this attitude. “Thing in itself” can be conceived, but it can not be known in the sense that Kant puts it into this concept, for which the conceptual constructions of mathematics and exact natural science are the ideal of theoretical knowledge.

    The meaning of this doctrine of Kant about the unrealisability of claims to the comprehension of “things in themselves” often amounted to agnosticism, considered as an unjustifiable understatement of human cognitive abilities. Meanwhile, Kant did not at all deny the possibilities of unlimited mastering of all new layers of reality in the practical and theoretical activity of man. However, Kant proceeds from the premise that such progressive development always takes place within the framework of experience, i.e. human interaction with the world that embraces it, which is always “finite” in nature, can not by definition exhaust the reality of this world.

    Therefore, the theoretical consciousness of man is unable to occupy some absolute position of “out-of-the-ordinariness” in relation to the reality of the encompassing man of the world, in principle exceeding the possibilities of his any rational objectifying modeling, as occurs in articulated and thus consciously controlled conceptual constructions of mathematics and exact natural science. Kant’s agnosticism concerning reason carries with it a very powerful anti-dogmatic orientation against all attempts to construct a “closed” theoretical picture of the reality of the world as a whole, no matter how concrete the content is completed, in its initial assumptions and grounds.

    Continuing the tradition of distinguishing between reason and reason, Hegel substantially revises the assessment of the mind. If Kant, in Hegel’s opinion, is primarily a “philosopher of reason”, then in Hegel the concept of reason becomes an important component of his system. Hegel proceeds from the premise that it is necessary to overcome the Kantian idea oflimiting the positive functions of cognition to the frame of reason as “finite” thinking. Unlike Kant, Hegel believes that it is through reaching the stage of the mind that thinking fully realizes its constructive abilities, acting as a spontaneous activity of the spirit, free of any external constraints.

    The limits of thinking, according to Hegel, are not outside of thinking, i.e. in experience, in contemplation, in the predestination of the object, and within thought – in its insufficient activity. The approach to thinking as formal only for the systematization of this material from the outside, inherent in the understanding, is overcome, from the point of view of Hegel, at the stage of reason, when thinking makes its form its subject, and overcoming their narrowness, abstractness, one-sidedness, develops its immanent Ideal content is an “idealized subject”. Thus, it forms that “reasonable” or “concrete concept,” which, according to Hegel, should be distinguished from the rational definitions of thought, which express only abstract universality (see Ascent from the abstract to the concrete). The inner stimulus of the work of the mind for Hegel is the dialectic of cognition, which consists in the discovery of the abstractness and finiteness of the predetermined definitions of thought, which manifests itself in their inconsistency. Reasonableness of thinking is expressed in its ability to remove this inconsistency at a higher level of content, in which, in turn, internal contradictions are revealed, which are the source of further development.

    So, if Kant restricts the constitutive function of thinking to reason as an activity within a given set of cognitive coordinates, that is, “Closed” rationality, then Hegel made his subject of consideration “open” rationality, capable of creatively constructive development of its prerequisites in the process of intense self-critical reflection. However, the interpretation of such “open rationality” within the framework of the Hegelian concept of reason had a number of significant defects. Hegel, in contrast to Kant, believes that the mind is capable of achieving absolute knowledge, whereas the actual development of the initial premises of the “paradigms”, “research programs”, “pictures of the world”, etc. does not lead to their becoming a kind of comprehensive “monologue,” they do not cease to be relative cognitive models of reality, in principle they allow other ways of comprehending it, with which one should enter into a dialogue relationship.

    The improvement and development of the initial theoretical assumptions is not carried out in a closed space of speculative thinking, but involves an appeal to experience, interaction with empirical knowledge, it is not a quasi-natural process of the self-development of the concept, but is the result of the real activity of the subjects of cognition and assumes the multivariate actions, problem situations, etc. In general, the typology of reason and reason can’t be assessed as an anachronism, which only matters for the history of philosophy. The real constructive meaning of this distinction can be revealed from the standpoint of modern epistemology and the methodology of science, in particular, in connection with the development of the concepts of “open” and “closed” rationality within the framework of the concept of modern nonclassical metrationality.

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