I was recently reading on this, but found that a complete definition was vague.

What does a brain state mean?


  • 2
    This is really more of neuroscience question than a philosophical one. It might be more suitable for the biology board.
    – David H
    Mar 25, 2014 at 7:13
  • 1
    "What is a Brain State?"
    – user3164
    Mar 25, 2014 at 8:16
  • While some neurophilosophers might say that a brain state is the actual "pattern" of active neurons, one could also consider the actual pattern of active synapses. (An active neuron being a neuron that just produced an action potential.) Jan 17, 2020 at 13:42

1 Answer 1


A brain state is a snapshot of everything in the central-nervous-system.

A brain state is said to contain everything about a person right the instant it is snapshotted: memories, emotions, skills, opinions, knowledge, etc.

Most importantly it is a snapshot of who you are right that particular instant the snapshot is taken.

If you buy into material/reductionist theories of consciousness, then a brain state is by necessity information about the physical constituents of the brain. If not, then substitute for a snapshot of whatever you believe a person's memories and opinions are made of, in order to understand the thought-experiment.


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