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Could someone please explain the contextual difference of this two words? If I for instance say:

I am using my brain to decide in what direction to move.

or

I am using my mind to decide in what direction to move.

what would be the difference between this two phrases?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 12 down vote accepted

"Mind" refers to the part of you that is capable of thought. "Brain" can be a synonym for mind, and it can also refer to the physical organ within your skull. That is, the "brain" is a physical organ while "mind" is a more philosophical concept.

People sometimes make a careful distinction between the two words when discussing the philosophical concept. Like, when people are debating whether there is such a thing as an immortal soul, they will say things like, "Can the mind exist without the brain?"

In most day-to-day contexts, like your example above, the two words are pretty much synonymous.

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1  
Perhaps as this is already the accepted answer, it is worth also discussing phrases like "My mind is in a different place" - where replacing mind with brain will make no sense at all. –  Izhaki Aug 5 '12 at 21:57
1  
@Izhaki Mmm, but I HAVE heard people say things like, "My brain is in a different place", whether it makes sense or not. –  Jay Aug 6 '12 at 14:54
    
I don't think sentences like "Where is my brain?" makes any sense while "Where is my mind?" does. –  Izhaki Aug 6 '12 at 14:58
    
My view of this would be that "Brain" stands for a physical organ, whereas "Mind" stands for thinking/experiencing/feeling ability. –  Izhaki Aug 6 '12 at 15:01
    
@Izhaki I think that's a case of definition 1 and definition 2. Yes, the distinction you make is OFTEN the usage, but not always. You could say that people who use "brain" to mean "thinking ability" are using it incorrectly, but so many people use it that way that, well, you get back to the question of what determines the definition of a word: popular usage or an authoritative dictionary. –  Jay Aug 7 '12 at 20:24

In many cases, there's no difference at all. Where there is one, it's generally that the term "brain" refers to the physical object inside your head while the term "mind" refers to the human capacity to think, sense, and process information.

So you wouldn't say, other than if you were joking or trying to make a philosophical point, "My mind weighs about 6 pounds." Similarly, you couldn't say, "I believe the human brain is actually a supernatural object where thought occurs and should not be considered part of one's physical body."

The substantial equivalence of these two terms flows from the well-known, biological fact that the human brain is the organ responsible for our ability to think, sense, and process information. For people who don't believe that, the terms become more different.

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The brain is an organ in your skull. It is a complicated organ which produces impulses, waves which we also call the "mind", "thought", "emotion", or "brain activity" etc.

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This doesn't really explain how the words affect the phrase in the original question. –  simchona Aug 5 '12 at 22:36
    
I don't understand the down votes. The Brain is indeed an organ; and the mind is indeed, by contrast, not the organ - but rather involved in / originating the phenomenon we call Mind. –  New Alexandria Sep 27 '12 at 4:34

protected by RegDwigнt Nov 17 '12 at 1:28

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