Why are there different usages of the articles with 'mind' throughout the entire article. It seems to me that this is done in arbitrary way?

The mind is a set of cognitive faculties...

...what constitutes a mind and what are its distinguishing properties.

...or whether mind can also be a property of some types of human-made machines

Some see mind as a property exclusive to humans whereas others ascribe...

Please, explain meaning of the use of a, the and zero article with 'mind' in here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind

  • 1
    References to 'mind' with an article seem to be considering it as part of what makes up a human being, like a part of the body - 'The hand' = hands in general, 'a hand' = a particular one. 'Mind' without an article seems to refer to it as an abstract concept; a 'property' as your quotes say. Hope this makes sense. – Kate Bunting Jan 11 at 15:04
  • What @KateBunting said. But I would add that the zero article usage is at least a little "strange". It treats mind as an (abstract) attribute, akin to how we would use words like consciousness, but it seems to me it's more like soul (or compound nouns like sex drive). Such nouns don't really work very well as (zero-article) "attributes / properties". I'd much prefer to say the property of having a mind / soul might be exclusive to humans (except I don't believe either of those two possible assertions anyway). – FumbleFingers Jan 11 at 15:18
  • But why do we want to say about things in general ('the mind') sometimes and in particular ('a mind') other times. This is not clear to me. Would it be incorrect to say "...what constitutes the mind and what are its distinguishing properties"? – Oleksiy Plotnyts'kyy Jan 11 at 15:38

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.