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Michael Roland

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Is neural activity truly the basis for thoughts, feelings, and perceptions?

"Neural activity is the physical basis, or so neuroscientists think, for thoughts, feelings, and perceptions."

In this qstatement, is Dr Seung implying that this is up for debate?


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  • Jan 27 2012: I think Dr. Seung is allowing that neuroscience is just a view. And there are other views available. When you have the freedom to pick and choose views to look at something from and switch freely between them without trying to reconcile them to one another, you can really get closer to experiencing or knowing something.

    The trap we fall into (maybe this is the age we are in, or this is a Western problem) is to conflate a useful view or model of something with the idea that that view or model represents how it ~really~ is. To the child with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. To the neuroscientist, the brain looks like a neuroscience-based machine.

    So to answer the question you've asked directly: I choose not to champion that view in most cases, as that gives very little room for humanity. Although the brain as described in neuroscience is a learning and adaptable machine (and a wondrous one), it's still beholden to ideas of brain electrochemistry.

    If I were having some kind of issue with my brain, however, I'd certainly consult with someone who had tremendous facility with the neuroscience view.

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