[Neuroscience] Re: Need Help With Neuroscience-Related Article

John H. via neur-sci%40net.bio.net (by j_hasenkam At yahoo.com.au)
Thu Jan 4 08:51:32 EST 2007

"Yet as the case of Gage and
    numerous subsequent individuals has shown, the self can
    plod on, albeit changed, after quite radical brain damage."

What 'plods on' is not a self but altered sets of behaviors. One of the
biggest psychosocial problems in brain injury is that the person can
often change so markedly as to become a completely different person.

And from today's reading

Article: A neuroanatomical model of passivity phenomena
Authors: Ralf-Peter Behrendt
Journal: Consciousness and Cognition 13 (2004) 579-609

"As it appears, one first needs to exorcise the notion I  from
psychological theory, before proceeding to explanatory models of
Motor behaviour is conscious not because it is executed by some agency,
but because it is perceived.
For Jaspers (1946), too, our sense of volition stems from the conflict
of drives and not the
deliberation of an inner agent:

The experience of volition-Bennett and Hacker
(2003) reasoned-is merely a reflection of ''determination and
persistence in pursuit of one s goals in the face of

Off the top you might find Bennett and Hacker heavy going but at least
it will save you from many of the conceptual pitfalls that arise in cog
neuro. Eg. The typical interpretation of Libet's experiments is
predicated on a self, which probably goes some way to explaining all
the controversy therein. To give you an idea of how deeply ingrained
all this, this paper is from 2004. Long way to go dude ... . The answer
to "who am I" is "I am not". Or, as Albert Camus stated, "Forever shall
I be a stranger to myself." (The Myth of Sisyphus).

PS: I'm not a scientist, I am a Professor of Nihilism at the University
of Bullshit.

beachnut wrote:
> 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

More information about the Neur-sci mailing list

Send comments to us at biosci-help [At] net.bio.net