Monday, July 23, 2007
Your Mind is Not Your Brain
He found that he could elicit all kinds of things from electrically stimulating the brain- memories, emotions, movements of the body, etc. The mental processes elicited were remarkably vivid.Yet in all instances, patients knew that the evoked response was not caused by their own will. Penfield called it 'double consciousness'. Patients always saw the response from a third person perspective, as well as experiencing the response in the first person. Patients always knew that the response was done to them, not by them. Penfield noted that patients always experienced their own responses as observers, as well as participants, and they could always distinguish their own coincident experience from the simultaneous induced response. There always remained a first-person subjectivity that was untouched by electrical stimulation of the brain.
Penfield recognized that there was an irreducible component of human experience that was itself independent of neurophysiology. He noted "Something else finds its dwelling place between the sensory complex and the motor mechanism. . . . There is a switchboard operator as well as a switchboard."
Also fun is the article showing that people can live normal lives with almost no brain at all (there was a similar article in Nature not too long ago -- it has a nice picture of a cranial space almost entirely filled with water).
On a similar but slightly different note, here is an excellent talk by Plantinga on why dualism is much better than materialism.
But what happens to "the mind" after traumatic brain injury?
for a few general examples, see this:
It seems to me that is the Mind is nonmaterial, then this shoul dnot happen.
But what do I know - I am not a philosopher or a theologian or an engineer...
Ask Phineas Gage if 'the mind' exists outside of the brain...
I agree 100% that the brain is heavily involved in the mind's activities, and that damage to the brain will affect your mind, because of the processing that occurs there.
"It seems to me that is the Mind is nonmaterial, then this shoul dnot happen."
You're mistaken. It is not an all-or-nothing affair. Physics certainly _affects_ the mind. That has never, ever been in question. If physics did not have any impact in the mind, then we could have no perception! Likewise, if the mind didn't feed back through the body, we would have no motion!
But the fact is that the mind is more than just the brain. The brain is not irrelevant (I've never seen anyone argue its irrelevance), but nor is it the entirety.