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In this video, Patricia Churchland announced that the data from neuroscience has made it clear that there is no soul, immaterial mind, or other "spooky stuff." I was wondering if anyone is aware of a good summary (by summary, I mean the size an article or smaller) of this data.

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    Churchland is a prominent eliminative physicalist, so she believed the conclusion even before much of neuroscience data became available, her Neurophilosophy dates back to 1986. A successful completion of the physicalist programme (finding precise physical correlates to mental phenomena) would be a strong evidence for materiality of "souls", but unfortunately we are very far removed from that (and there are doubts that it is feasible even among materialists). For challenges see SEP's Philosophy of Neuroscience. – Conifold Nov 30 '17 at 22:52
  • @Conifold. I agree with everything you said, except for the word "unfortunately." On the contrary, it would be an unfortunate mistake to believed we had any evidence for the nonexistence of souls. – user3017 Dec 1 '17 at 13:29
  • If this is her view Churchland does not understand neuroscience, metaphysics or psychology (as I already believed). Just as Conifold indicates announcements like this are temperamentally-driven pseudo-science and/or scientism. It might as well be mumbo-jumbo. . – PeterJ Dec 1 '17 at 13:36
  • After analysing Paul Churchland's eliminative materialism, Ray Brassier writes, "The trouble with Churchland’s naturalism is not so much that it is metaphysical, but that it is an impoverished metaphysics, inadequate to the task of grounding the relation between representation and reality." Brassier's point is that Churchland's approach to displacing folk psychology actually acknowledges its ongoing relevance, and, instead of succeeding, he offers in its place an inadequate substitute: "FP cannot be as chronically deficient in the superempirical virtues as Churchland requires..." – user3017 Dec 3 '17 at 10:45
  • @Conifold I think your comment should be the accepted answer. – Cartesian Theater Dec 5 '17 at 20:44
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For a good layman's discussion of the topic that summarizes the evidence, but remains neutral on the conclusion, I highly recommend Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by neuroscientist David Eagleman.

In general, the best evidence is that physical changes to the brain can demonstrably change things like personality and moral commitments that we traditionally think of as residing in an eternal soul. But Eagleman does address possible responses that a dualist could make.

This article criticizing Eagleman also has a good rundown of the argument on the Churchland side.

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I think the best answer is the comment from conifold

Churchland is a prominent eliminative physicalist, so she believed the conclusion even before much of neuroscience data became available, her Neurophilosophy dates back to 1986. A successful completion of the physicalist programme (finding precise physical correlates to mental phenomena) would be a strong evidence for materiality of "souls", but unfortunately we are very far removed from that (and there are doubts that it is feasible even among materialists). For challenges see SEP's Philosophy of Neuroscience. – Conifold Nov 30 at 22:52

(@conifold: if you would like the credit/points, let me know and I'll delete this answer so you can answer the question)

Another work I think I'll check out is Patricia Churchland's relatively recent book: Touching a Nerve: the Self as Brain. I guess that's about the best I can do at this point (as a layperson in neuroscience).

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Neuroscience and cognitive science correlate the mental to the neural and genetic alterations or neural energy movements. But it may not be correct to say that there is evidence in neuroscience that mind does not exist. The conclusion seems more towards the view that mind and soul (or say self-awareness or consciousness or life) is produced by organized bio matter called the brain provided it is alive

Dr. Nuland Sherwin B writes awareness is distributed through neural, endocrine and circulatory systems; awareness is there in every cell.1 There are many "molecular selves" in the human body, which produce the richness and variety of human life. It is by awareness that integration and coordination of the organism is possible not only down to organ level but to cellular and intra cellular level. In any given instant, in any cell, millions of molecular interactions are taking place and the single product of all such interaction of organisms is life.2 Dr.V.S.Ramachandran thinks the brain generates a sense of self-awareness for experiencing.3

Dr. Kandel writes the notion that the brain stores an internal representation of the outside world has been accepted in modern cognitive psychology, but how it happens is still an unanswered question.4To me it seems that in the minds of neuroscientists, the puzzle that bothers them is how the material phenomena of movements and changes in the brain lead to creation in the mind, of perceived mental phenomena of the world of objects and bodies, based on the sensory information which comes in. A further question that arises is how this world is brought into consciousness which is located in the mind.

In neuroscience, as per evidence gathered by Dr. Libet, action is known in the mind after it happens. 5

Nobel Laureate Eric Kandel writes that studies of the sense of touch and its representation in the cortex provide evidence of the internal representation (as creation by the brain) of the body surface and also of peripersonal space. Attentiveness is a factor in integrating the representation of the body with sense impressions of vision and movement. It allows a representation of the personal space to be integrated with a representation of extra personal space. Thus, representation of the body relates to representation of visual space. It is within this integrated representation that the conscious self functions.6

The evidence points to life lived by person in the mind in a world in the mind. It is as if the world around the body is outside a mind. As per experimental evidence of Dr Libet, action happens by exercise of an imagined freewill after the thought of action appears in the mind and the action is known in the mind. It is so even when body is in wakeful state. The actions are not known in the mind after the instant action happens.

1 Nuland Sherwin B., How we live Vintage books, N.Y.1997. chapter 5 'The fundamental unit of life, the cell' pp 118, 121-123.

2 ibid. Chapter 4 Sympathy and the nervous system' pp 84

3 Dr.V.S.Ramachandran, The Tell-Tale Brain, Paperback edition, 2012. Pp 344-348

4 see Eric R. Kandel, in Ch 63 ‘Cellular Mechanisms of Learning and the Biological Basis of Individuality’ p 1278, with Robert H. Wurtz in Ch 25 ‘Constructing the Visual Image’, P 493, and Eric R. Kandel in Preface and ch.1 ‘The Brain and Behavior’ p 6, of ‘Principles of Neural Science’ 4th Edition, 2000. The McGraw-Hill. Editors: Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz and Thomas M. Jessell

5 Libet, Benjamin; Wright Jr., Elwood W.; Feinstein, Bertram; Pearl, Dennis K. (1979). "Subjective Referral of the Timing for a Conscious Sensory Experience - A Functional Role for the Somatosensory Specific Projection System in Man". Brain 102: 193–224; and Libet, Benjamin (2004). Mind Time - The Temporal Factor in Consciousness. Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01320-4. (Extract from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Libet. Accessed on 14th August 2013)

6 See Eric R. Kandel, in ch.20 ‘From Nerve Cells to Cognition: The Internal Cellular Representation Required for Perception and Action’ p 403, in ‘Principles of Neural Science’ 4th Edition, 2000. The McGraw-Hill. Editors: Eric R. Kandel, James H. Schwartz and Thomas M. Jessell.

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    Thanks, but I wasn't looking for a theory; I was asking for a summary of empirical evidence from neuroscience. – Cartesian Theater Dec 6 '17 at 16:34
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    Easy. There is none and never will be. – PeterJ Dec 7 '17 at 13:36
  • Two important things: First, full disclosure when writing about own work. It is completely irrelevant where your book is available. Second, this formatting is seriously bad. Consider e.g. using footnotes and more paragraphs. – Philip Klöcking Dec 7 '17 at 22:03
  • Thank u philip. If u have the authority u must also teach those who do not know what is "full disclosure". I have no interest in promoting my false "I am" but only in spreading the truth of the non-dual "I" which is you and he and she also. I am sorry I have made you angry. I shall post no more unless asked by u. Regards. – Siva Vats Dec 7 '17 at 22:17
  • @SivaVats: You can find a summary of what "full disclosure" means in the link I provided. I am not angry at all, I just like everyone to follow the rules of the site when posting. Nobody is able to know everything, so I consider this as part of a normal learning process for new users. – Philip Klöcking Dec 7 '17 at 22:23

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