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Greyson, B. Near-death experiences. Lynn and S. Explanatory models for near-death experiences. Holden, B. Greyson, and D. James eds. James, W. The principles of psychology. Leskowitz, Eric Phantom limb pain treated with Therapeutic Touch: a case report. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 81 , Phantom limb pain: subtle energy perspectives.

Subtle Energies and Energy Medicine, 8 2 , Libet, B. Electrical stimulation of cortex in human subjects, and conscious sensory aspects. Iggo ed. Berlin , Germany : Springer-Verlag. Unconscious cerebral initiative and the role of conscious will in voluntary action. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8 , — Neurophysiology of consciousness: Selected papers and new essays. Mind time: the temporal factor in consciousness. Cortical representation of evoked potentials relative to conscious sensory responses, and of somatosensory qualities — in man.

Kornhuber ed. Time of conscious intention to act in relation to onset of cerebral activity readiness-potential : The unconscious initiation of a freely voluntary act. Brain, , — Lutz, A. Neurophenomenology: integrating subjective experience and brain dynamics in the neuroscience of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 10 , Mays, R. The phenomenology of the self-conscious mind. Journal of Near-Death Studies, 27 1 , Moody, Jr. Life after life: the investigation of a phenomenon — survival of bodily death.

The light beyond. Nikolajsen, L. Phantom limb pain. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 87 1 , Pascual-Leone, A. Modulation of muscle responses evoked by transcranial magnetic stimulation during the acquisition of new fine motor skills. Journal of Neurophysiology, 74 , — Penfield, W.

The Cerebral Cortex of Man: A clinical study of the localization of function. Popper, K. The self and its brain: an argument for interactionism.

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London : Routledge. Ryle, G. The Concept of Mind. Schwartz, J. A role for volition and attention in the generation of new brain circuitry: Toward a neurobiology of mental force. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6 , — Sheldrake, R. The mind is the seat of conscious experience. Objections to dualism How can mind-brain interaction occur?

How does brain injury also impair the non-physical mind? How can the mechanism for interaction between the brain and mind explain phenomenal experience? How does this view avoid the Cartesian Theater in the brain? How is this view not a category-mistake? Altered blood gas levels Neurochemical factors Temporal lobe seizure or other abnormal electrical activity in specific brain regions Induced out-of-body experiences OBEs Interaction of the non-material mind with physical processes How does the non-material mind interact with the physical processes of the brain and body?

A person brought up in a totally black-and-white environment may know everything there is to know about how the brain produces color experience but still would not know what it is like to see color the qualia or knowledge argument. It is logically conceivable that a physically identical duplicate of a person can exist which behaves identically but which lacks conscious experience.

It is conceivable that in a world physically identical to ours, conscious experience is different , for example, that color experience is inverted — where we see red, people in the identical world see blue, and vice versa the inverted spectrum argument. The facts of physical causation in the world in physical objects, biological systems, etc.

The only way I know about consciousness is because I experience it the epistemic asymmetry argument. The mind is united with the brain and interacts directly with it, probably via electrical interactions : 1 People generally feel that their locus of consciousness extends throughout their physical body; 2 electrical brain activity is correlated with conscious experiences e. All cognitive faculties perception, thinking, feelings, volition, memory and self-awareness reside in the non-material mind entity, not in the brain. However, the mind ordinarily is completely dependent on brain structures and neural activity for consciousness.

Mental events become conscious only when there is sufficient electrical brain activity. If the electrical activity is not sufficient, the percept or other mental event remains subliminal. While none of these physiological factors is adequate to explain NDE, such factors may play a role, for example in triggering the onset of NDE.

The similarities which are observed may be an indication of this role. However, no single physiological factor is present in all cases of NDE: the NDE appears to be a phenomenon with multiple possible triggers. Consciousness requires sufficient electrical brain activity, else sensations remain subliminal : 1 Sensations become conscious only after a sufficient duration of electrical brain activity Libet, ; Libet, et al.

Brain damage causes mental impairment, by interfering with the neural interface to the mind : 1 There are numerous examples connecting brain damage to cognitive impairment, in addition to memory impairments; 2 damage to neurons implies that the neural interface to the mind is impaired such that sensory, motor, affective and thought processes may be altered or impaired; 3 during anesthesia, the anesthetic agent suffuses the brain and the patient loses consciousness, implying that the anesthetic agent interferes with the neural interface with the mind.

Causal closure of the physical is maintained : 1 previous point The mind interacts with physical processes, and thus has physical attributes, implying that at some level, the field of the mind becomes a physically causal entity. The case of the mind as a new aspect of reality is no different. The main objections to dualism , and responses relating to this theory, are: How can mind-brain interaction occur? There is no conceivable mechanism whereby a totally non-physical mind could affect the material body. If the mind and body are totally different types of things, how can they intermingle and interact with each other?

Modern researchers have also found evidence that the brain is able to rewire itself following damage. In his groundbreaking book "The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph From the Frontiers of Brain Science," Norman Doidge suggests that this belief that the brain was incapable of change primarily stemmed from three major sources, including:.

Thanks to modern advances in technology, researchers are able to get a never-before-possible look at the brain's inner workings. As the study of modern neuroscience flourished, researchers demonstrated that people are not limited to the mental abilities they are born with and that damaged brains are often quite capable of remarkable change.

The human brain is composed of approximately 86 billion neurons. Early researchers believed that neurogenesis , or the creation of new neurons, stopped shortly after birth. Today, it's understood that the brain possesses the remarkable capacity to reorganize pathways, create new connections, and, in some cases, even create new neurons. There are are a few defining characteristics of neuroplasticity , including:. The first few years of a child's life are a time of rapid brain growth. The average adult, however, has about half that number of synapses.

Because as we gain new experiences, some connections are strengthened while others are eliminated. This process is known as synaptic pruning. Neurons that are used frequently develop stronger connections and those that are rarely or never used eventually die. By developing new connections and pruning away weak ones, the brain is able to adapt to the changing environment.

Have you ever wondered what your personality type means? Sign up to get these answers, and more, delivered straight to your inbox. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. More in Theories. History and Research on Brain Plasticity. How Brain Plasticity Works. Characteristics of Neuroplasticity. Types of Brain Plasticity.

View All. The ancient belief that the brain was much like an extraordinary machine, capable of astonishing things yet incapable of growth and change. The observation that people who had suffered serious brain damage were often unable to recover. Putting it this way gives pride of place to the practices of contemporary cognitive neuroscience.

It locates neural types at the level of activated brain structures and neural populations. Cognitive neuroscientists studying, for example, the neural correlates of visual experience know that they have to devote most attention to the neural processes arising in areas such as V1, V2, V3, V4, MT and in some other parts of the temporo-parietal cortex. The fact that these areas are preferred over many other cortical sites is rooted in knowledge acquired over decades of empirical inquiry.

The research has aimed to isolate the circumscribed anatomical areas responsible for specific functions; cf. We believe that respecting the practices of cognitive neuroscience is a pragmatically sensible approach, although we do not want to disqualify other possible approaches to neural typing. The practices of cognitive neuroscience place NCCs and thus the neural types firmly in the cerebral cortex. For example, it is a well-founded supposition that all NCCs are located within temporo-parieto-occipital cortical areas. However, these contributions are routinely ignored in the NCC research and there are even more systematical reasons for disregarding them: clinical and experimental findings show cases of extensive activity in the cerebral cortex even when the subcortical neuromodulatory systems, such as the reticular activation system, are unplugged.

For example, during REM sleep people dream consciously although the cerebral cortex is disconnected from subcortical structures Koch et al.

How Experience Changes Brain Plasticity

Does the restriction to the cortex imply that a precise localization within cortex structures is part and parcel of neural typing? That could well be doubted. On the one hand, the localization thesis is to a large extent respected in neurosciences. Neuroscientists do not expect that for every individual case of the occurrence of a phenomenal state, its neural correlate can be found everywhere in the brain.

The current debate is mostly about the mechanisms involved in visual perception and the functional specialization of individual visual areas or their sub-parts. Researchers do not expect to find correlates of visual consciousness in the extrastriate cortex in one experiment, in the anterior cingulate cortex in the following experiment and in dlPFC in the next experiment. They expect a degree of systematicity in how the NCCs of various types of phenomenal states are localized. Without this presumption, much of cognitive neuroscience would simply fall apart. On the other hand, phenomena such as neural plasticity suggest that the localization of neural types is not absolute.

Some phenomenal types may be implemented by different parts of the brain. The neural type, then, is the neurophysiological process, the mechanism, whatever it may be, sufficient for having a conscious phenomenal state. Localizing the processes in the brain is heuristically important; it helps us to differentiate brain areas due to their functional properties so that it is subsequently possible to concentrate on the neural pattern-properties themselves.

However, isolating the neural mechanisms of consciousness is the project which constitutes the search for neural types. These mechanisms can, due to lesions, for instance, neuroplastically shift their locations somewhat, without ceasing to be the same neural types Buonomano and Merzenich, The way we conceive neural types is reminiscent of the contemporary mechanistic philosophy of neuroscience see Craver and Kaplan, The mechanists hold that a mechanism produces the phenomenon of interest to the neuroscientists.

However, we would prefer to put this in terms of the theory of identity because the philosophical mechanism, when causally interpreted, faces the issue of dualism see Against Causal Accounts of NCCs. Thus the phenomena of interest, i. Various phenomenal types are to be straightforwardly identified with various neural type-mechanisms. What is the relationship between the two type-taxonomies, phenomenal and neural? Should we type the neurophysiological processes according to phenomenal criteria, or vice versa?

Should they be typed entirely independently? We doubt that the latter is an option. On the one hand, phenomenal and neurophysiological states are typed by sets of very different characteristics — by phenomenal properties on the mental side, by neuroscientifically salient properties on the brain side.

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This could lead one to believe that to prefer the independent classification of both domains is the way to produce the right types. On the other hand, producing both taxonomies in complete isolation from one another and hoping that one day they will match perfectly is a dubious project. Such a meeting of types could never happen. We need a bridging procedure that brings phenomenal and neural types together. This bridging procedure includes systematic NCC measurement in various sensory modalities.

Without it, neuroscientific typing will produce taxonomies that will take into account only neuroanatomical such as cytoarchitectonic properties, whereas mental typing will produce taxonomies that will in no obvious way correspond to these neuroanatomical maps. In short, typing mind and brain events and putting them together in a one-to-one correspondence relation is a jointly coordinated process based on the practice of searching for NCCs. We have already seen this in the previous subsection in which we defined neural types according to the neural mechanisms producing types of phenomenal states.

These neural mechanisms cannot be uncovered in isolation from the phenomenal types. We agree with Viola , pp. It is a conditio sine qua non of empirical consciousness research. Simplified hierarchies of types. The diagrams show a one-to-one correspondence between simplified hierarchies of types. A displays the simplified hierarchy for phenomenal types of pain, B for phenomenal types of taste. On the right halves of both pictures, the corresponding neural types are assorted. Both the phenomenal and neural types are ordered according to the degree of generality: on the top the more general types are located, at the bottom the least general.

An activated central nociceptive system cNS in the diagram is considered the neural correlate of pain; activation of the primary gustatory cortex is considered the neural correlate of taste Chen et al. These postulated type-identities are one of the sources of empirical progress in neuroscience; during research, they are further tested and refined. Now, some authors believe that postulating mind-brain identities is a methodologically dubious or perhaps even harmful step. For instance, Gamez , p. In our view, these criticisms are misguided. Postulating mind-brain identities cannot affect empirical research into the neural correlates of consciousness in any negative way — indeed, quite the reverse.

Besides the heuristic advantage of the prior assumptions of mind-brain identities that Bechtel and McCauley mention, adopting identity as a vertical mind-brain relation ensures that the coordination of phenomenal and neural processes is as tight as might be. As we will see in the next section, all other non-causal vertical notions construe a looser relation between phenomenal states and their neural substrate. This might please the anti-reductivists, but it puts in question the ontological status of the phenomenal and can potentially undermine the value of neuroscientific research for understanding consciousness: if the states of phenomenal consciousness are only loosely connected to their neural substrate, does scrutinizing the properties of this substrate really advance our understanding of how consciousness arises in nature?

This search goes beyond the pairing of phenomenal and neural types. It simply is a search for the common neural mechanism of all states of consciousness, no matter how we type them and their neurophysiological counterparts.

Mind from body : experience from neural structure, Don M. Tucker ; illustrations by Anne Awh

This content non-specific neural activity, be it neural recurrence Lamme, , thalamocortical reentry loops into the dynamical core Tononi and Edelman, , microactivations of essential nodes distributed in the cortex Zeki, , or any other non-specific neural mechanism, is of such a nature that whenever it is activated, states of phenomenal consciousness are also present. The science of consciousness aims to elucidate the relationship between mental and brain phenomena. It cannot do this without a great deal of empirical work, but this work in itself is not enough.

We need to interpret what the scientists are doing and what they are measuring in their labs. Consciousness researchers cannot dispense with this more theoretical aspect of their project. The theory of identity fits the bill nicely. It is a simple and elegant metaphysical explanation of the mind-brain connection.

Why do the neural states and states of consciousness correlate? Because they are one and the same thing. Claiming the identity of phenomenal and neural states enables one to describe their nature simultaneously. Examples from the history of science show that identifying two phenomena which were previously thought to be distinct brings rapid advances in the understanding of both. For instance, the discovery of the identity of lightning and electrostatic discharge enabled the use of all the knowledge amassed independently for both these phenomena in synthesizing a single explanatory account of their nature and behavior.

Identifying brain processes with states of phenomenal consciousness could bring similar advances.

Mind–body problem

The theory of identity can be taken to be a form of inference to the best explanation — as some of its advocates, including Place, suggest. We cannot take the systematic mind-brain correlations to be a direct proof of the theory of identity, but we can hold that the theory of identity best explains them. The theory of identity, though, is not the only non-causal vertical metaphysical relation between the states of consciousness and brain processes. The literature distinguishes a number of such relations; each of them can claim to be the best explanation of regular mind-brain correlations.

When compared to the notion of identity, these alternative materialist accounts work with the less reductive notions such as constitution, multiple realization and supervenience. These are all broadly naturalist: they all want to find a place for the phenomenal mind within and not beyond the physical world. We do not believe any of these relations to be superior to identity as a vertical mind-body relation.

However, there is no space here to consider all these relations in detail. We shall only briefly indicate why we prefer the relation of identity over these less reductive notions. Constitution is a one—one relation between distinct entities. It is not really appropriate for characterizing mind-body relations. One can apply it only to co-located, distinct objects such as a statue and a lump of clay. The lump constitutes the statue without being identical to it: transformations of its shape will cause the statue to disappear, while the lump continues to be the lump of clay it is.

This cannot be the case in mind-brain relations. Transformations in neural patterns will either change the identity of both the neural state and the phenomenal state, or, if the transformations are radical enough, they will erase either the mental state or both the mental and the neural state. The more frequently employed alternative to identity is that of multiple realization see Aizawa and Gillett, The theory of multiple realization claims that the same phenomenal state can be realized in different substrates — not just in the human brain but also in the brains of some animals and even in artificial systems such as robots.

A dependence upon types is clearly no less present in multiple realization theory than in the theory of identity. Multiple realization is a type-multiple type relation, i.


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Multiple realization can be formulated as a relation holding 1 across different species, but can be also formulated as a relation 2 within one species, such as the human species, or even 3 within one individual i. Thus, phenomenal type P is realized in organism H by neural type G, but by a different neural type, K, in a different organism, W or in the same organism at a different time.

We accept that neural substrates realizing the same phenomenal type in different organisms can differ, within certain bounds. However, this is just a thesis of variability within a type, not a multiple realization. Variability is everywhere in nature but that does not imply that everywhere in nature there is also a variability of the realizing types cf.

Mind From Body: Experience From Neural Structure

Polger and Shapiro, , p. Multiple realization requires that the same type of mental state is realized by relevantly different neural, or more generally material realizers. However, as Polger and Shapiro show with a number of examples, many cases of phenomena that appear to be multiply realized are in fact implemented by realizers that are not relevantly different. Moreover, they complement their analysis by pointing out that in other cases, the material substrate of a psychological state does change, but so does the state itself.

For instance, one of the seemingly strong cases of multiple realization are the rewired brains of a group of ferrets von Melchner et al. Soon, the ferrets began to adapt to the new situation. However, as Polger and Shapiro , p. Multiple realization requires that the discriminatory performance and therefore the perceptual phenomenal states driving it remain unchanged. The rewired ferrets therefore cannot constitute an example of multiple realization.

In sum, unless the differences in neural realization are radical enough, they are to be conceived as intra-type variations which do not constitute multiple realization. The neural substrate of seeing blue can somewhat differ in different organisms, or even within a single organism at different times, but it will be the same neural type nonetheless. In this respect, we are in agreement with Polger and Shapiro when we claim that the differences within a neural type providing the substrate for a type of mental state constitute variability, not multiple realizability.

There is thus no need to resort to multiple realization in order to account for ordinary natural variability. If, on the other hand, the differences in material implementation become too extensive, it becomes very likely that the mental type will not remain the same. This is the moral of the ferret example. The identity theory sensitive to various levels of generality of types thus covers a number of cases of apparent multiple realization.

This should allay the fears of many philosophers that the theory of identity is overly restrictive. However, the type theory of identity does rule out more substantial divergencies in the material substrate of mental states, especially across different biological species or non-living artifacts.

But these, we believe, are not very plausible, given the available evidence. As has been noted by some authors notably by Bechtel and Mundale, , p. For instance, the fact that other creatures have different brain architectures might be more naturally taken to imply that their conscious phenomenal states differ , not that they are the same as in us, humans. And the fact that artificial systems do not have brains at all might be further taken to imply that they cannot phenomenally experience anything.

Even if other creatures or artifacts react in relevantly similar ways to similar stimuli as we do, this is not sufficient to rule out that they have different phenomenal states than we do — or no phenomenal states at all. Another shortcoming of multiple realization as a vertical mind-body relation is that it can hold at most for the very general types within the type-hierarchy. This is also clear from the examples usually given of allegedly multiply realized phenomenal states.

For instance, Putnam puts forward a claim that pain can be implemented not just by a human brain but also by the nervous system of an octopus, although the physical types realizing this phenomenal type will significantly differ in those two creatures. However, the further down we descend the hierarchy of phenomenal types, the more unlikely it is to see those phenomenal types as capable of being multiply realized. Identity, on the other hand, covers all instances of all phenomenal types without a single exception. Finally, let us consider supervenience.

Supervenience shares with identity the demand that any difference in phenomenal states, no matter how insignificant, must correspond to changes between the neural states implementing them.

That is, phenomenal states supervene on neurophysiological states iff any change in a phenomenal state is conditional upon a corresponding change in the neurophysiological state Kim, As with realization, supervenience is a weaker vertical notion than identity: supervenient states and processes are ontologically dependent on their subvenient neurophysiological basis, but they cannot be reduced to them.

As far as we can tell, this is the only difference between supervenience and identity. However, if this is the case, we see no reason to prefer supervenience over identity, except anti-reductionist scruples. We do not share those scruples. On the contrary, we believe that succumbing to these scruples only makes matters worse for the consciousness science community. Whereas the identity theorist firmly accommodates all phenomenal properties in the material world, the supervenience theorist leaves their ontological status unexplained.

His ontological business is, therefore, far from finished. In short, it seems to us that identity has the most advantages as a vertical mind-body relation. Some authors go even further. Orly Shenker unpublished takes the radical stance that the only two genuine ontological relations that obtain in nature are those of identity and causation. This picture of things is quite simple. Our intention, though, is not to completely exclude other possible mind-brain relations.

We do not have a knock-down argument against any of these alternative materialist notions. It might be that realization, supervenience or some other relation can serve as well or even better than identity. It seems to us that the only real virtues these notions have are those that they share with identity.

Thus, both multiple realization and supervenience mimic the theory of identity in anchoring phenomenal properties in the material world. The psychologist Ullin T.


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Place, founder of the modern brain-mind identity theory, saw the theory as a means of overcoming the philosophical obstacles of the empirical study of consciousness Place, , p. By observing the current research, one might come to conclusion that these obstacles are a thing of the past: consciousness research is blooming and empirical researchers do not bother much with philosophical conundrums about mind-body relations. However, perhaps they should care about them rather more.

Overgaard , recounting the challenges of future consciousness research, points out that one of these challenges will be to reintegrate the metaphysical issue of the mind-body problem into the scientific work, because arguably the whole of consciousness research is about the mind-body problem, i. One intriguing possibility he mentions is that experiments will be designed to test theories put forward in the framework of the philosophy of mind.

Unfortunately, no-one knows how to do this, or even whether something like this is possible. The second, less ambitious alternative Overgaard mentions is that experimental consciousness researchers could work more closely with theoretical consciousness research. We see our contribution in this paper as a step in this direction.

We claimed above that without specifying the nature of the mind-brain connection, consciousness research will never be complete, our thesis being that the neuroscientists of consciousness should not work with causal models of brain-mind relations, and that they should replace them with the non-causal model of the identity theory. Apart from that, we also believe that by accepting identity, neuroscientists could bring clarity into their theoretical commitments.

For instance, when Frith et al. Neither of the terms seem to cast any new light upon the mind-body problem. The notion of identity is much more informative and may provide a meaningful metaphysical framework for neuroscientific hypotheses about consciousness. By focusing on some aspects of NCC research we also discovered that the theory needs to be clear about the notion of type.

We anticipate that this hierarchy might help scientists achieve greater clarity regarding the type-level at which they are working, on both the phenomenal and neural sides. This, in turn, could lead to more precise theories of the neural correlates of consciousness. We have talked much about correlation in this paper. Both states are not just correlated, they are the same.

If the theory of identity is widely accepted, a new set of terms should be devised to clarify the nature of the tight connection between phenomenal and brain states. Both authors listed have made a substantial, direct and intellectual contribution to the work, and approved it for publication. The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.