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Setting the Stage DUALISM vs Monism PPT
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Setting the Stage DUALISM vs Monism PPT

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  • 1. … [People] occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened. - Sir Winston Churchill
  • 2. Setting the stage for Cognitive Neuroscience Important events in history: • Scientific revolution • Dualism v. Monism • Darwin’s Dangerous Idea • The Golden Age of Neuropsychology • Ramon y Cajal • Antecedents of modern era
  • 3. Scientific Revolution  Scholasticism vs. Empiricism authority vs. direct observation of the phenomena  Mechanism vs. Animism  Falsifiability  Precision, mathematical tools  Openness, peer-review  Skepticism  Parsimony
  • 4. Dualism vs. Monistic Materialism • Dualism defined • Problems with Cartesian dualism - interaction? - simplicity? • de la Mettrie and Hobbes 1700’s
  • 5. Monistic Materialists
  • 6. So, if nearly every neuroscientist has given up pursuing dualist accounts, why is the idea so persistent? Is it persistent? Eccles Penrose Sheldrake vision Predicate dualism Property dualism Substance dualism (Interactionism Epiphenomenalism Psychophysical parallelism)
  • 7. Assignment: Find on-line one interesting argument against Mind-Brain identity to present. Nagel's (1986) Position "The subjective features of conscious mental processes... cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with the physical world that underlies appearances... mental states - however objective their content - must be capable of manifesting themselves in subjective form to be in mind at all."
  • 8. Brief History of Localizing Mind Within the Human Body
  • 9. Four events in the 19th Century paved the way • Mind-brain identity evidence - phrenology - brain damaged patients - Broca, Alzheimer, Wernicke • Darwin’s theory of evolution
  • 10. Ventricular Doctrine: Localization of mental faculties to the ventricles
  • 11. Ventricular Doctrine: Localization of mental faculties to the ventricles First Ventricle: Integration of sensory information; Fantasy & Imagination.
  • 12. Ventricular Doctrine: Localization of mental faculties to the ventricles First Ventricle: Integration of sensory information; Fantasy & Imagination. Second Ventricle: Cognitive processes – reasoning; judgement
  • 13. Ventricular Doctrine: Localization of mental faculties to the ventricles First Ventricle: Integration of sensory information; Fantasy & Imagination. Second Ventricle: Cognitive processes – reasoning; judgement Third Ventricle: Memory
  • 14. Franz Joseph Gall & J. C. Spurzheim – localization of different psychological functions to different regions of the cerebral cortex (late 1700’s – early 1800’s)
  • 15. Franz Joseph Gall & J. C. Spurzheim – localization of different psychological functions to different regions of the cerebral cortex (late 1700’s – early 1800’s) - phrenology
  • 16. Understanding the Relationship Between Brain and Behavior The brain hypothesis: functional specialization or distribution? 1810
  • 17. Brain Hypothesis Flourens (1794-1867) • Mass action (Lashley, 1930s) and aggregate field theories
  • 18. Darwin’s theory of evolution  Any trait shows variation in a population  Within an environment, some varieties are favored (or selected) such that they have more offspring compared to other varieties  If any of the variation is inherited, then the selected variant will spread through the population
  • 19. Novelty of Darwin’s idea  Importance of geological time  No purpose, goal  Makes plausible human integration with the rest of nature  Makes plausible comparative studies  Integrates with modern genetics  Processes can be adaptive
  • 20. So what does this have to do with brains and minds? FUNCTIONAL DESIGN!
  • 21. Is the brain & therefore the mind functionally organized? Yes. The brain is a physical system that transforms other physical systems in very specific ways.
  • 22. Four events in the 19th Century paved the way  Mind-brain identity evidence - phrenology - brain damaged patients - Broca, Alzheimer, Wernicke  Darwin’s theory of evolution  Wilhelm Wundt founds first laboratory in Leipzig 1879s  Ramon y Cajal’s conclusions
  • 23. Neuron Hypothesis Golgi Ramon y Cajal • Functional segregation begins at the neuronal (cellular) level.
  • 24. TOP TEN LIST: Reasons for avoiding brain-mind identity theory 10. It is repugnant to believe that we are only a relatively unimpressive, but pretty fancy piece of meat. 9. It is a well known fact that we only use 10% of our brain, so it is more or less useless. 8. Almost our whole cultural heritage (including mommy and daddy) tell us that we are actually a litte spirit only temporarily residing on this comparatively rotten planet. 7. When we have a thought about a unicorn, it is not located in a specific location or time and is about something that doesn’t exist; our brain events occur in a specific location and time and definitely exist. 6. If you take it seriously you must learn about things like molecular genetics, neurophysiology, and other biophysical things that seemed too hard in undergraduate school.
  • 25. 5. Neuroscientists do not make much money (and their books are not popular). 4. Reductionism is politically incorrect (and always has been). 3. Didn’t the antiphrenologists and Karl Lashley and a host of others show that brain (or cortical) organization was irrelevant for psychology? 2. This whole business isn’t “really” psychology or neuroscience, but rather part of somebody else’s program - eventually they will figure it out and tell us the answer. 1. If you really believe it, you would have to hang around with people like Kolb, Whishaw, Prusky, or Sutherland.

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