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[Neuroscience] Need Help With Neuroscience-Related Article

beachnut via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by hoochiegooch At hotmail.com)
Tue Jan 2 11:48:45 EST 2007


Hi, all.

I need some help here.  My girlfriend sent me an article
from 'The Economist' (link below), and it has created
an awful fight between us!  If some of you have a few
spare minutes, it's short, and I could use some feedback
from scientists.  I have an Electrical Engineering
degree and she has degrees in languages and education,
so we're not experts in neuroscience.

For those who read the article, my questions are:

1.  The subtitle is "Modern neuroscience, says Geoffrey
    Carr, is groping towards the answer to the oldest
    question of all: who am I?".

    Are [most] neuroscientists really concerned with
    "who am I" in their work?

2. Later, the author states:

   "If the essence of individuality can be changed by
    a physical accident, it implies that the brain is
    a mechanism which generates the self, rather than
    merely an organ which houses it."

    I say "duh"!!  Is neuroscience into dualism, where
    there is assumed distinction between mind and body/brain?

3.  He goes on to write:

    "Many people, most of whom would not regard themselves
    as dualists, think of the brain as being like a computer,
    and the mind as being like a piece of software that runs
    on that computer. But this analogy, too, is flawed. You
    do not have to do much damage to a computer to stop it
    being able to run programs. Yet as the case of Gage and
    numerous subsequent individuals has shown, the self can
    plod on, albeit changed, after quite radical brain damage."

    Who are these "many people"?  Most intelligent people
    I know don't give any credence to this computer analogy.

4.  This one really perplexed me:

    "...whisper not the word soul"

    Your take?


Okay, finally ;-)  here's the link!


   http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8407261

I've seen the magazine itself and there are several short pieces
after this to comprise the Survey.  But this intro by this Economist
science editor (a psychologist by trade) was enough for me to go
off on.

Thanks to any that have the time to read and respond!!
Tear me up if need be!  I just need to hear it from actual
scientists.

beachnut



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