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Friday, April 26, 2013

You are not your brain



We have become too reductive in understanding ourselves, argues philosopher Alva Noe. Our thoughts and desires are shaped by more than neurons firing inside our heads.
 By Gordy Slack
 Mar. 25, 2009 |

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.
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