My Brain is Me

Feb 17, 2021Philosophy/Ethics, Tech0 comments

“There are two things about the human soul on which all the knowledge we can have of its nature depends: one of which is that it thinks, and the other is that, being united to the body, it can act on and be acted upon by it.”

Descartes to Elisabeth, 21 May 1643

https://philosophynow.org/issues/65/How_Are_The_Mind_And_Brain_Related

 

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Julia

Dear Professor, I am writing an essay on the relation between body and mind.

Could I ask you some questions?

Today 11:32  

Cho

Sure, happy to help   😀😀                                                                           

Today 11:34   

Julia

Thank you! I want to discuss all the classical positions on the relation between brain and mind

Today 11:34   

Julia

I’d like some input from a real neuroscientist on this, because some of them sound …. really weird and implausible?

Today 11:35  

Cho

Ok, but I’m not really an expert in philosophy or psychology as such.             

Today 11:36   

Julia

Oh but it is specifically about what the brain can and cannot do that I have questions …

Today 11:36  

Cho

That actually is my area of expertise, so fire away!                       

Today 11:37

Julia

So I’ve reviewed the classical positions, like Cartesian Dualism, where mind and brain are separate and don’t interact …

Today 11:38   

Cho

… that _is_ weird and implausible …                                                

Today 11:40  

Julia

Right! But what I actually have the most trouble with is the identity theory: that the mind just is the brain, full stop.

Today 11:43   

Cho

On first sight that also is weird and implausible!                           

Today 11:44   

Julia

Yeah, so there are a couple of variations on this theory, but the gist seems simply that “we are our brains”

Today 11:44   

Cho

I’m sure it is more complicated than that … I can tell you straight away, I’ve lots of brains close up, but never a  thought …                                      

Today 11:44

Julia

Ooh, that’s a good one, can I quote you on that? 😍

Today 21:44   

Cho

It’s just the punchline from an old joke, but sure …😄                     

Today 11:45   

Julia

Right, but there are some variations on this theory and this is where things get confusing for me …

Today 11:46   

Julia

One says that all mental processes correlate one-on-one with physical processes in the brain, hence the mind is the brain

Today 11:46   

Cho

Literally?    🤔                                                                                             

Today 11:46   

Julia

Yes, they argue the mind isn’t caused by the brain, but coincides with the brain? Like lightning isn’t caused by an electrical discharge, but simply is an electrical discharge?

Today 11:47

Cho

OK, that actually sounds … intelligible. Send me your draft and I’ll check it out.                                          

Today 11:48   

Julia

Thank you! That’s very helpful! ☺️

Today 11:47

Cho

I’m actually curious what else they have to say about the  brain … 😮😮                                               

Today 11:48   

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