I Am Not My Brain

When I speak or write, my brain generates neural signals that activate my lungs, vocal cords, mouth, or alternatively my fingers on a keyboard to form words and sentences. This sort of activity applies to anything “I” do. It seems natural then to propose “I am my brain.”

Citing difficulty with the notion of “I”, some neuropsychologists would prefer to say, “The mind is the brain.” The naturalist philosopher Daniel Dennett, who agrees with this position, took it further and once predicted that personal pronouns such as “I” and “you” would likely disappear from human speech in the not-too-distant future.[1] In that happy time neuropsychologists and psychiatrists may understand much better than today how to treat brains and their disorders. Or maybe not.

We don’t have to wait a hundred years to find a group of people whose concept of “I” or self has been shattered. They already exist. They are people with severe mental illness, especially schizophrenia. Continue reading “I Am Not My Brain”

Advertisements

Does the Brain Create the Mind?

What we now call science used to be known as natural philosophy. Quantum physics continues to deserve the latter name. To understand why, read Paul Nunez, who is a physicist working in electroencephalography (EEG), a pioneering researcher in neurology, a student of higher-order mathematics, and by inclination and impact a philosopher as well.

We heard from Nunez earlier as he considered the limits of computing power with regard to moving between levels of organization in nature – physics, chemistry, biology, etc. – our 2nd proposed answer to the Free Will Problem. In his book titled Brain, Mind, and the Structure of Reality, Nunez also addresses questions such as consciousness, cosmology, and quantum physics in a manner similar to Roger Penrose, but with an extraordinary emphasis on the human brain as computational engine. Continue reading “Does the Brain Create the Mind?”

Rule #2. No Overarching Viewpoint

The toughest rule to follow in the search for GSOT and in philosophy is Rule #2 – The overarching viewpoint is not allowed.

To show how this rule works, let’s attempt to define truth as an accurate mental representation of reality. If true, the mental image, memory, or construct must correspond with whatever is really “out there.” This is called the correspondence theory of truth. It appeals to common sense, but we shall see how it fails because it reaches for an overarching viewpoint and violates the second rule. Continue reading “Rule #2. No Overarching Viewpoint”