What is the mind?

Matt Jones jonesmat at ohsu.edu
Fri Dec 11 13:18:26 EST 1998

In article <36710B55.6EBBCD78 at earthlink.net> Nigel & Julie Thomas,
jantec at earthlink.net writes:
>This, of course, is the metaphysical position known as dualism. Most
>contemporary philosophers reject it as incompatible with a scientific approach
>to reality.

Very nice comments, Nigel.

There is a paper in the latest issue of Science describing a hypothesis
about what properties a neural substrate of "consciousness" would need to
have (Tononi and Edelman, Science,282, 1846:1851). Although I am not yet
qualified to evaluate this particular hypothesis, I like the idea of
confronting the issue of our subjective awareness head on, rather than
ignoring it and hoping it'll go away, or pretending that it is somehow
outside of the realm of the material universe (where is it then?). 

Subjective awareness obviously exists (Just ask me, and I'll tell you
that I have it. Q.E.D.), and it lives somewhere inside the brain. The
"scientific" thing to do is to figure out how it works and why it's
there. I'd be interested in hearing other people's impressions about this
Science paper, and the specific hypothesis it describes (I know, I know,
asking for people's impressions about "consciousness" on this group is
just begging for a torrent of nonsense posts, but hopefuly there'll also
be some wheat amongst the inevitable chaff). 


Matt Jones

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