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Am J Psychiatry. 2001 Jul;158(7):989-1000.

A psychiatric dialogue on the mind-body problem.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Medical College of Virginia of Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond 23298-0126, USA.


Of all the human professions, psychiatry is most centrally concerned with the relationship of mind and brain. In many clinical interactions, psychiatrists need to consider both subjective mental experiences and objective aspects of brain function. This article attempts to summarize, in the form of a dialogue between a philosophically informed attending psychiatrist and three residents, the major philosophical positions on the mind-body problem. The positions reviewed include the following: substance dualism, property dualism, type identity, token identity, functionalism, eliminative materialism, and explanatory dualism. This essay seeks to provide a brief user-friendly introduction, from a psychiatric perspective, to current thinking about the mind-body problem.

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