In order to avoid the reality of substance dualism some Atheists make the claim that the mind merely describes the functions of the brain, that there is no fundamental difference between the two. I’ve been told the mind can be equated to chemical reactions that are governed by very physicalistic processes. created by the ordinary thoughts and intentions we have. I don’t think this can be the case for at least two reasons.
First, if there is any property held by either the brain or the “mind”, they cannot be identical. Thoughts have content, physical objects do not. A chemical reaction in itself does not contain informational content, however, the thought standing in causal relation to it does posses content. You can examine the physical contents of a brain, but, you alone have private knowledge as to the content of your thoughts. There is no way to examine the brain to discover the content of a thought.
And second, if thoughts are merely the sum of chemical reactions, every propositional thought would produce identical synapses in each person’s brain. For example, organs in the human body operate by an ordered process, i.e., the production of saliva is done the same way for anyone with salivary glands. Urine is produced by the same process in everyone’s kidneys. This is not so with the brain. The proposition “I am wearing white socks” does not produce an identically measurable chemical reaction in each person’s brain; each of us produces a different set of reactions for identical thought propositions. Moreover, an identical thought may produce different reactions within our own brains.
The mind cannot be reduced to the brain precisely because the two are not identical. we are more than the sum of our physical parts. Therefore, naturalistic materialism is a false philosophical view. If the universe were purely made of physical objects, a phenomenon such as consciousness or the mind could not exist.