The Self and its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism

The Self and its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism

Paperback

By (author) Sir Karl Popper, By (author) Sir John C. Eccles

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  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Paperback | 616 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 234mm x 36mm | 794g
  • Publication date: 1 March 1984
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415058988
  • ISBN 13: 9780415058988
  • Edition statement: Revised ed.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 511,065

Product description

The relation between body and mind is one of the oldest riddles that has puzzled mankind. That material and mental events may interact is accepted even by the law: our mental capacity to concentrate on the task can be seriously reduced by drugs. Physical and chemical processes may act upon the mind; and when we are writing a difficult letter, our mind acts upon our body and, through a chain of physical events, upon the mind of the recipient of the letter. This is what the authors of this book call the 'interaction of mental and physical events'. We know very little about this interaction; and according to recent philosophical fashions this is explained by the alleged fact that we have brains but no thoughts. The authors of this book stress that they cannot solve the body mind problem; but they hope that they have been able to shed new light on it. Eccles especially with his theory that the brain is a detector and amplifier; a theory that has given rise to important new developments, including new and exciting experiments; and Popper with his highly controversial theory of 'World 3'. They show that certain fashionable solutions which have been offered fail to understand the seriousness of the problems of the emergence of life, or consciousness and of the creativity of our minds. In Part I, Popper discusses the philosophical issue between dualist or even pluralist interaction on the one side, and materialism and parallelism on the other. There is also a historical review of these issues. In Part II, Eccles examines the mind from the neurological standpoint: the structure of the brain and its functional performance under normal as well as abnormal circumstances. The result is a radical and intriguing hypothesis on the interaction between mental events and detailed neurological occurrences in the cerebral cortex. Part III, based on twelve recorded conversations, reflects the exciting exchange between the authors as they attempt to come to terms with their opinions.

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Review quote

." . . anyone with an interest in philosophy, science, and the future of the world should read it."-"British Journal of Psychiatry ." . . a massive achievement . . . a theory of beautiful simplicity, with all the relevant data clearly set out down to recent research findings."-"The Jerusalem Post

Back cover copy

The relation between body and mind is one of the oldest riddles that has puzzled mankind. That material and mental events may interact is accepted even by the law: our mental capacity to concentrate on the task can be seriously reduced by drugs. Physical and chemical processes may act upon the mind; and when we are writing a difficult letter, our mind acts upon our body and, through a chain of physical events, upon the mind of the recipient of the letter. the authors of this book stress that they cannot solve the body mind problem; but they hope that they have been able to shed new light on it.

Table of contents

PART I by Karl R. Popper, Chapter P1: Materialism Transcends Itself, Chapter P2: The Worlds 1, 2 and 3, Chapter P3: Materialism Criticized, Chapter P4: Some Remarks on the Self, Chapter P5: Historical Comments on the Mind-Body Problem, Chapter P6: Summary, Bibliography to Part 1, PART II by John C. Eccles, Chapter E1: The Cerebral Cortex, Chapter E2: Conscious Perception, Chapter E3: Voluntary Movement, Chapter E4: The Language Centres of the Human Brain, Chapter E5: Global Lesions of the Human Cerebrum, Chapter E6: Circumscribed Cerebral Lesions, Chapter E7: The Self-Conscious Mind and the Brain, Chapter E8: Conscious Memory: The Cerebral Processes Concerned in Storage and Retrieval, Bibliography to Part II, PART III Dialogues Between the Two Authors, Bibliography to Part III, Index of Names, Index of Subjects.