You are not your brain

And I would say you are also not the disease your doctor tells you your brain has. This is an interview with Alva Noe from Salon. I’ve never heard of Alva Noe before and I read this piece fairly quickly, but it seems to have a lot of potential significance to the stuff I talk about on this blog.

I’m simply having bad withdrawals today so I can’t think too well. Made a cut about 4 days ago. Things have been nasty since yesterday, though I’ve had some minor improvement this afternoon.

Please share your thoughts on the article:

For a decade or so, brain studies have seemed on the brink of answering questions about the nature of consciousness, the self, thought and experience. But they never do, argues University of California at Berkeley philosopher Alva Noë, because these things are not found solely in the brain itself.

In his new book, “Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain, and Other Lessons From the Biology of Consciousness,” Noë attacks the brave new world of neuroscience and its claims that brain mechanics can explain consciousness. Nobel Prize-winning molecular biologist Francis Crick wrote, “You, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behavior of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.” While Noë credits Crick for drawing popular and scientific attention to the question of consciousness, he thinks Crick’s conclusions are dead wrong and dangerous….

And part of the interview:

Even if we had a perfect way of observing exactly what a brain was doing, we would never be able to understand how it made us have the kinds of experiences we do. The experiences just aren’t happening inside our skulls. Trying to understand consciousness in neural terms alone is like trying to understand a car driving down the road only in terms of its engine. It’s bad philosophy masquerading as science. (read the rest here)

4 thoughts on “You are not your brain

Add yours

  1. Just came across this, actually searching for something else here, why I haven’t yet read the whole article (will do that later, looks really interesting).

    I believe (you might say I know, from experience), that we’re neither our minds, nor the contents of our cells, nor anything else, that science ever could define. There’s an energy beyond all the material stuff science is capable of measuring, that scientific methods can’t and never will be able to measure. Science fails to ask the crucial question: What makes it moving, changing, transforming? What makes all of our material biology react? What makes it be alive? Science doesn’t ask that question, because it has no answer to it. And because it knows, that it never will have an answer to it.

  2. I don’t know what that means Seaneen…I know you’re capable of going on at length…would you like to say more?

    I don’t know what our “mind” is? do you?

    I’m not sure even our minds are all that consciousness is…

    1. Actually, we are the content of our cells – and that’s FAR too complicated to define. But we are NOT EVER a disease – no matter WHO says so.

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