Relationship of mind and body

Mind Body Debate | Simply Psychology

relationship of mind and body

The overarching aim of this paper is to problematize the mind–body relationship in psychotherapy in the service of encouraging advances in. The Attempt of "Intensional" Logic: from the Mind-Body Relationship to the Person-Body Relationship. 3. Epistemological Characteristics of a Dual, Non- Dualistic. Today, we accept that there is a powerful mind-body connection through which emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and behavioral factors can.

He noticed that, besides an intrinsic superior coherence, such an approach could grant a great consistency with the principles of Christian anthropology, more than that shown by the Platonic dualist approach, especially for what concerned the person, its irreducible individuality and its intrinsic psychophysical unity.

Many contemporary authors who operate today in the field of cognitive sciences intend to refer to a dual-type, and not to a monist-type metaphysical paradigm, even though only a few of them, in the recent past, were clearly aware that such metaphysical paradigm was not compatible with the functionalist approach of the cognitive sciences cf. The localization of the Mind. The mind or, in the Scholastic, Greek-Platonic terminology, the "soul" is indeed a non-material "thing," as Descartes would have liked, however it is not a "substance" that is complete in its being in the way it is stated by the dualist theories.

Mind Body Debate

It is the formal principle of unity of a stratified whole of material parts today we would say: It is rather a non-material or "formal" component of a substance made of material parts that experience constant modification. Where the notion of "form" is understood according to the Aristotelian philosophy of nature, as a constantly adapting plastic whole of relationships of disposition of dynamic material parts, continually modifying and interacting among themselves and with the external world.

An example of it, is given, at the cellular level, by the metabolic physical-chemical activity of the cell itself. In this context the "mind," according to the dual theories, has a unique location with respect to the body, which the mind itself organizes. Instead of being located "in the body" and at the most "in the head", as in all of the dualist theories Plato assigned its location to the attachment point of the neural cord with the cerebellum, Descartes in the "pineal gland" epiphysisEccles in the synapses of the populations of neurons in the cerebral cortexand in the ancient and modern monist theories, an illustrative solution that M.

Schlick defined "principle of introjection", the dual theories rather affirm that "it is the mind that contains the body. In a book which is strongly and justly critical towards the functionalist approach to the cognitive sciences, Penrose expresses himself on the matter: It is not all unreasonable to suppose that the persistence of the 'self' might have more to do with the preservation of patterns than of actual material particles" Penrose,pp.

Here is instead what was stated on the same argument by Donald M. MacKayone of the founders of the non-functionalistic approach to the cognitive sciences, to whom, amongst other things, we must acknowledge the definition of "dual theories" applied to this particular type of theories of the mind: Mental activity would be meaningfully locatable in principle in specific flow-structures of the information-diagram; but this meant that the relevant flow-lines would in general extend beyond the confines of any one component structure, and during conscious action might even run out-and-back through the environment.

Mentality, as a system-property, could be rendered invisible or destroyed by attempts to localize its action to any subsystem of the total information-flow pattern in which it was currently embodied" MacKay,p. More recently, the same idea that the mind is embodied within the informational flow schemes, internal and external to the body, received support from A. It stands as the new post-functionalist paradigm in the cognitive sciences, one that tries to unite different elements, albeit not without some confusion.

Regarding the localization of the mind or of the "rational soul" of the human being with respect to its body, in the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas held a position that was very similar to that of the modern supporters of the dual theory. He said precisely that non-material entities, such as the soul, can be localized with respect to the matter that they control and organize, not through a relationship of contact between the external surfaces of a body "that contains" and those of one that is "contained," as it takes place between material entities.

Non-material entities, rather, must be localized through "the extension of the capacity to control and organize Lat. For Aquinas the attempt to localize the soul and its action in specific parts of the brain, such as that brought forward at his times by the interactionism of the Platonists, is totally wrong and misleading cf. Summa TheologiaeI, q.

Resorting to this same principle, he justified the omnipresence of God in the universe, for His actual capacity to govern everything and not just a body as in the case of the human soul in each one of us. A second characteristic of the dual metaphysical theory of the mind, immediately linked to the original localization of the mind with respect to the body in the theory itself, is that it appears connected to an "intentional" theory of knowledge, as much as the other two types of theories are, at least in modern times, dependent upon an exclusively "representational" theory representationism of knowledge.

How the history of modern philosophy teaches us, the emergence of a representational theory of knowledge is nothing more than the epistemological counterpart of the progressive establishment of the absolutization of the axiomatic method in modern mathematics and logic, that identifies in the theory of demonstration and proof the only object of logic as science and as organon of the mathematical and natural sciences.

So much the questioning about the truth and the foundation of axioms is well far beyond the interest and the capacity of the axiomatic method, how much, in a similar way, does the questioning about the "thinking thought" the intellectus for the thinkers of the medieval period that formulates ideas and produces logical symbols in a truthful relationship with the object, with respect to the representational theory of knowledge. A questioning, that on the thinking thought, which limits itself just to the analysis of the "thought which is thought," the thought that manipulates symbols which are already constituted according to logical and formal rules the ratio in medieval terms.

This got to a point in the 19th century when a project was conceived to reduce epistemology and logic to a unique "universal algebra" of thought, reduced to a pure syntactic formalism occupied with the manipulation of graphical "signs", no longer without a symbolic semantic value.

The building of a TM is probably the higher expression of the formalist approach to logic and epistemology, but for this very reason it indicates, at the same time, the beginning of an unstoppable decline. It is certainly not due to mere chance that the principle of intentionality came to acquire an ever greater relevance in the contemporary epistemological and logical-foundational debate, as it became increasingly evident that there was on the one hand a failure in the formalist approach to the foundations of logics and mathematics, and, on the other, the insufficiency of the functionalist interpretation in the cognitive sciences.

In the 13th century, when Thomas Aquinas had to face these problems as a philosopher and a theologian, he was in a very similar situation to ours. In a particular way, in the last part of his life, Aquinas, in Paris, had to face up to that "lay" interpretation of the Latin Averroism of Siger of Brabant ca. As an answer to these theories Aquinas proposed his own interpretation of the Aristotelian rational soul as form of the body.

In so doing, he wished to obtain two main results: Dual Theory of the Mind and Spirituality of the Soul 1. As far as the first problem is concerned, that is how to ensure the immateriality of the intellectual faculties, the solution proposed by Aquinas is similar to that which is proposed today by the functionalist theory. The latter, in order to justify why the human being has the capacity of rational thought, particularly the "creative" capacities, hypothesize the existence, "outside" of the system, of a "closure" of the hierarchy of partially self-referential controls that characterizes the living body.

The function of the agent intellect is precisely that of producing a "universal" logical thinking in real time abstraction"correcting its own errors"; a function that cannot be performed by Turing's oracle or by Hofstadter's universal intelligence, but can be always executed by the intentional intelligence of the individual human being: Thomas Aquinas interprets the active component of human intelligence "agent" intellect as a capacity to constantly re-define the context of the problem "possible" intellect in order to adapt it to the single present datum adaequatio intellectus ad rem.

In this way, the passive component of the intellect - its capacity to comprehend in a conscious way, because it is controlled by its active counterpart- can be considered as a tabula rasaaccording to a famous Aristotelian expression. However, the passive intellect is not a tabula rasa absolute absence of any data in itself, but rather in respect to each new datum that the neurophysiological and cerebral activity presents to the intellect. Aquinas' position differs from what was pursued by the myths of absolute innatism, as meant by John Locke or by the modern Empiricists up to Popperdeceiving Aristotle and the Scholastics.

In fact, rather than speaking of a tabula rasa, we should speak of a tabula which is constantly swept rasata. Due to its capacity to generalize abstraction with respect to all conditioned and singular datum, human knowledge can be applied to, or focus on an infinity of similar cases, becoming in such a way an "a priori" of the mind. When it results inadequate for a new set of data "knowing of not knowing"the procedure of adaptation can repeat itself indefinitely. Such a closure is nothing but a self-consciousness of non-organic nature, hence not materially conditioned by the past, what the Ancients used to call intellectushaving the capacity to act immediately on itself distinction between the "agent" and the "possible" components of the intellectand therefore capable of intelligere se intelligere to know that it is knowing.

This way of solving the problem of the relationship between the spiritual and the material component of the human psyche has two main consequences. It is a sort of closure on itself of the informational flux, a "black hole", a "singularity" on the informational space that closes on itself. Moreover, it can be partially or totally prevented by the wrong functioning of some of its material sub-structures which control our cerebral activity and that are informed by it, thus creating the illusion, accepted to be the truth by some thinkers, that these cerebral structures would be the "subjects" of human rational operations.

A text by St. In De Anima, I, lec. Here, he distinguishes between sensory cognitive operations, which have the body as both an object and a means of the operation itself, and which can therefore be only partially self-referential, and intellectual cognitive operations, which have the body only as an object, and which can therefore be completely self-referential intellectus intelligit se intelligere.

We just need the "exchange of information" without any violation of the physical principle of energy conservation, as we would say today. Within the context of the ancient physiology of the "corporeal spirits", all of this is explicitly stated by Aquinas of the "pneumatic" non-electric principle of the transmission through a distance of the nervous impulse, before the discoveries of the Italian physiologist Galvani.

In order to be able to talk today in similar terms, the only physical condition we need is that the physical system we are dealing with, that is, the brain, possess a sufficient level of complexity and a sufficient dynamical instability, derived from its nature which is strongly and irreducibly non-linear unpredictability on the medium-long range behaviour, as occurs in chaotic systems. This immediately implies that energetic and informational fluxes cannot be superimposed to each other in such systems, unlike what happens in the stochastic systems studied by statistical mechanics and linear thermodynamics.

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In fact, what characterizes chaotic dynamics that dissipates all living systems are "dissipative systems" and "feed" upon free energy subtracted from the environment is that there is a generation of information within them, that proceeds from the microstate to the macrostate, exactly in the opposite direction, from the macrostate to the microstate, through which the system dissipates energy.

The system behaves in an unpredictable way with respect to what we knew about it from the initial conditions Although each individual quasi-periodical trajectory within the space of the states of the system is predictable step by step, it is a characteristic of the system to "jump" in a way that is absolutely unpredictable from one trajectory to another.

The unpredictability of the macrostate is therefore generated from the microstate of the trajectories of particles that compose the system.

In a classic thermodynamic system, the two energetic and informational fluxes proceed instead in the same direction from the macrostate to the microstate, meaning that as soon as the system is described in terms of its microstate, its behaviour becomes perfectly predictable cf. On the one hand, being of spiritual nature, it can be considered capable of autonomous subsistence and must be therefore in some way a "substance," as it was intended by the Platonic dualist.

On the other hand, according to the principles of Christian anthropology regarding the person, it must be considered a component, and therefore "part" of a unique psychophysical substance, that is the person. At this point it is clear that if we do not want to fall into contradiction, the soul must be considered as "substance", but in a way different from what is intended for the person in its completeness.

Thomas solves the question by referring to the general Aristotelian doctrine on the category of "substance", as discussed by the Stagirite in Book V of the Categories. According to this doctrine, "substance" can be intended in three main ways. In the first way, as a being that is defined and complete in its nature and that exists as an individual "first" substance: In the second way, the substance can be intended as a defined and complete being that exists only in the individuals, understood as "parts of them" "second" substance: An analogy for the notion of substance as intended in this second sense can be found in logic, in the notion of property that defines an "ordinary class" of elements, a class that does not belong to itself because it is determined by a non "autologic" predicate, that does not apply to itself.

In such a way "humanity", intended as a property that defines all human beings and only human beings, "is not itself a human being," as Aristotle would say.

relationship of mind and body

In fact, as Russell discovered, if we consider the notion of "total class of all the ordinary classes," the class of all the classes that do not belong to themselves, whenever we ask ourselves if such a class does or does not belong to itself, we soon find an antinomy. Finally, there is a third way of speaking of substance.

A substance can be considered as a being that is defined, but non complete in its nature, and that exists in the individuals as "part of them", a part that, however, determines the totality to which it belongs "third" substance or "substantial form". An analogy to the notion of substance as intended in this third meaning can be found again in logic, in the notion of property that determines a "non-ordinary class" of elements, a class that belongs to itself because it is determined by an autologic predicate, that can be applied to itself.

For example, "polysyllabic," intended as a property that determines all the polysyllabic words, is itself a polysyllabic word, and therefore belongs to the class that it defines.

Regarding this matter Aristotle used the physical, indeed biological, example of the "feet," that although being part of the totality of an animal individual, nonetheless they are a part that can define the totality to which they belong. In fact, an animal can be defined as "biped" or "quadruped. The soul is the form of a first, individual substance, that is the person, thus it is part of that, which is however specified by this part. Person means in fact "individual substance of a rational nature," according to the classic definition given by Boethius.

The problem of the survival of the rational soul after death still remains unsolved. According to the previous proof, the soul has its own operations that it "must" execute independently from the organs of the body. Thus, as Aquinas states, if it has the capability to act by itself per sethen it must also have the capability to be by itself cf. Quaestio De Anima, a. However, it does not have the being by itself as a "first" substance, but rather as a "third" substance, as a part of that totality that is specified by it.

In other terms, in order to continue with the Aristotelian example of the hand and the body, and of how the hand cannot survive if separated from the body, with which the former constantly exchanges matter and energy for its vital operations of metabolic nature, analogously the mind, in order to perform its cognitive operations, needs to continually exchange information with the body, and through it with the rest of the world. In other words, a living organism can be defined as such if it is able to exert its characteristic vital operations.

Nowadays, it is possible to put an explanted organ in a compatible chemical environment and maintain it for a short time in order to allow it to carry out its main metabolic operations up until the moment when it is transplanted in a new organism.

The characteristic vital operations of the human mind are not, however, of chemical-metabolic type, but rather of the "informational" type. Therefore, how Thomas Aquinas already stated, the human mind can continue to carry out its vital operations hence to "live" after death provided that it receives from a source other than the body the pieces of information species on which to operate.

The question posed by the philosopher Thomas, doctor humanitatis, was answered by the theologian Thomas, doctor angelicus. The human soul can continue to survive temporarily in the after life, provided that it receives "through illumination" by God, as the angels, the "information" that can enable it to carry out its characteristic vital functions which are of the cognitive type. The souls of the dead can continue to see the world and be in communion with us "through God," just as the angels which do not have a body This until the moment when each soul will be "transplanted" in a matter similar to the present one that the soul will reorganize as the body of a defined individual, that is to fully carry out once again its function of substantial form or "third substance" of a complete human person, "first substance", in agreement with the biblical dogma of the final resurrection of the bodies cf.

Apart from theology, much more nowadays than in the Middle Ages, the "dual" approach to the mind-body relationship offers to metaphysics and anthropology new ways to indicate unexpected solutions to the eternal problem of the survival of the mind after death.

Johnson-Laird at Princeton University, one of the first "critics" of the absolutism of the functionalist paradigm in the cognitive sciences, writes at the end of his manual of cognitive psychology: It suggests an alternative to the traditional philosophies of mind: This thesis is incompatible with the Dualistic philosophy that holds mind and matter to be independent domains.

It is also incompatible with both Materialism and Idealism - the traditional attempts to abandon one domain or the other. It implies that certain organizations of matter enable processes to occur that represent events elsewhere in the world.

It also implies that the fabric of a computer does not matter. What matters is the organization of these processes. This philosophy replaces the concept of the immortal soul with an alternative form of immortality. There is a remote possibility that the computations of a human mind might be captured within a medium other than a brain. A facsimile of a human personality could be preserved within a computer program.

All living things pass on to their offspring a self-reproducing program in their genes. Human beings, in addition, can leave behind them some traces of their personalities in books, in pictures, in theories, and in other cultural artefacts. We are familiar with the idea of interacting with such artefacts in order to glean some understanding of a long-dead person.

The concept of interacting with a dynamic representation of an individual's intellect and personality is sufficiently novel to be disturbing. It raises moral, metaphysical and scientific issues of its own" Johnson-Laird,pp.

Perspectives to understand the Mind-Body Relationship As we have seen, the debate on the so called "Mind-Body Problem" is very present and open, especially in the field of the so-called "cognitive sciences," the last to be born inside the encyclopedia of the modern sciences cf. Gardner, ; Thagard, In practical terms, the states and the conscious operations, which have always been inviolable properties of the individual subjectivity, have a double objective correlate, accessible to the observation by other human subjects, and thus also accessible to a scientific type of theorization: So we observe in the field of cognitive sciences a transition from a functionalist paradigm, that has the character of a monist-type metaphysics, to a much more well-organized paradigm that is based upon the distinguishing features of the dual theories of mind.

To summarize, these features are: This last point, on which the former two depend, emphasizes the difference between dual and functionalist paradigms. How it was stated earlier, the software-hardware distinction made by the functionalist paradigm has little to do with the distinction "informational flux"-"energetic flux" made by the dual paradigm.

Unlike the second distinction, which is based on an intrinsic characteristic of the complex dynamical systems, the first one is substantially a distinction of the heuristic type. We can count from one to ten either by going through the fingers of two hands, in touching the beads of a rosary, by listening to the water drops from a tap, by moving the balls of an abacus, etc.: Within the functionalist paradigm this equivalence is shattered only when facing the highly problematic construction of the "oracle" and of its interpretation in terms of a non-computable determinism of the hardware.

From here follows contemporary interest for the cognitive sciences, which advance along a post-functionalist paradigm according to three fundamental directions of research development in the present and in the immediate future, to which we devote the last three sub-sections of this essay.

In order to explain the evolution in the biological systems, the laws of unpredictability that are manifest within the complex dynamical systems and which are the basis of the energetic flux -informational flux distinction, can provide a different, and perhaps more efficient principle, than the simple selection by a random mutation DARWIN, IV.

Unlike the introduction of a simple aleatory variable implied by the Darwinian principle of random mutation, the deterministic character of this unpredictability can avoid the system spanning the whole phase space of possible mutations, but rather should allow it to consider only significant sub-domains of it, and with a memory mechanism that should stop it from passing over where it has already been.

The transition to chaos and the choice of islands of structural stability through the control and hopefully the self-control on such transitions, should render these systems much more promising candidates than the stochastic systems for the study of the physical basis of biological evolution. And this, although an exceptional physical and mathematical work in order to characterize them in an acceptable manner would be necessary.

We have only begun climbing a mountain, the top of which we do not even see!

relationship of mind and body

Much more than the "blind watchmaker" of Darwinian memory is here available: Therefore, the selection for random mutation would be left aside only to modulate little modifications and adaptations within the species for an introduction, cf. Kauffman, At home in the universe, Oxford: Sermonti, Dimenticare Darwin, Milano As in the biological systems the complexity of such systems rules out the possibility that a single model can account for the whole path of evolution, this must also be true in cognitive systems, that occupy the peak of complexity in the biological scale.

The epistemological limit of the functionalist approach is its "representationism". This aspect depends upon the identification of the "mental" with the formal calculations of a TM software. This leaves out the possibility that this approach can account for the fundamental capacity of the intentional human intelligence, the capacity of "symbolization", in other words to be able to constitute those logical symbols the abstractive-constitutive act belonging to the judgement of the intellectus in the Thomasian Scholastic teaching that should serve in a second moment to execute the typical operations of the representational thought, the inferential reasoning the ratio of the Thomasian Scholastic.

This is one of the fundamental theoretical reasons why H. Putnam repudiated that same functionalist approach which he somehow initiated cf. Putnam, and Moreover, and for the same reason, the functionalism places the mind within that "methodological solipsism," that shows an incapacity to face what is real and to learn from it, a quality that Carnap had already highlighted as being the fate of all formalist approaches to the semantic problem cf.

We understand, then, why the major impulses to exceed the functionalist representationism in the cognitive sciences derive from the field of robotics: It does need, however, to produce adequate actions in a constant interaction with the changing environment.

Before teaching machines to simulate intelligent human beings, we should teach them at least to be animals. The development of an informational approach that is able to manipulate the semantic and not only the syntactic information as in the TM, encourages a close look at the complex dynamical systems which are of course generators of information and not simple manipulators of bits already constituted, as in the perfectly predictable determinism of the TM.

Mathematically speaking, a bit is a typical function that defines whether or not a certain element belongs to a set which is already constituted two-value logic: A shy attempt along these lines is that of the fuzzy logic many-value logic that allow a limited "elasticity" of the dividing line between the different sets. We are, however, quite far from what we are asking today of the logic and mathematics of the near future. A neurological exemplification of what we are talking about here is given by the network of neurons in our brains that constantly redefine the topology of connections - and not only the statistical weights of their connections, as in the connectionist models —in order to maximize their capacity of parallel processing cf.

Perrone, Verso una teoria dinamica della computazione, in G. All of this makes the complex systems the most natural candidates for the study of the physical basis of the cognitive operations, and for all of those pre-symbolic and pre-representational operations characteristic of a bottom-up knowledge. Such a path would have its neurologic correlate in the redefinition of the topology of connections in the network of neurons, activated in a reciprocal manner, within the globality of the cerebral dynamics.

According to this scheme, the symbolic aspect of the representational thought, with all of its logical-deductive operations and associated formal calculations, would constitute the top-down path. This would have its neurologic correlate in the operations performed by the network of fixed connections, where the calculations are known to be equivalent to those of a TM.

The representational-symbolic moment would thus constitute a moment that is posterior to the constitution of the logical symbol, in the same way that the intentional, pre-symbolic moment is anterior to it. The constitution of the symbol, in fact, needs a sort of "exit from the system", which is linked to the characteristic intellectual function of the mind.

In this way, the pre-symbolic moment and then the moment of the constitution of the symbol would be in a more consequential relationship with the representational functions of the symbolic thought. A relationship where the Scholastic scheme intellectus-ratio could once again provide the working paradigm. Logic of Discovery vs Logic of Proof. What has been said up to now points towards that same direction of discovery and development, in a contemporary language, of the ancient analytical method in the study of logic.

The extraordinary development of the axiomatic method in mathematics and modern logic has obscured the problem of the logical study of the discovery procedures, known as the "analytical method" in the logical pre-Cartesian tradition, with a meaning different from that used in the modern era, which descends from a stoic and manualistic tradition of Pappus 4th century B.

Rene Descartes: Body Mind Relationship

Much of this oversight was based on the myth of the absolute demonstrative certainty that the deductive procedures supposedly had. In our present times, this vision has probably reached its summit with the Popperian statement about the absolutely irrational character of the formulation of new hypotheses, and hence of the constitution of new axioms, that he thought as independent of any logical procedures of investigation cf.

Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovering, The logic of discovery is based upon procedures such as induction, abstraction, analogy that certainly cannot aspire to the absolute certainty -as it has been known since the times of Plato and Aristotle.

We are thus facing the so-called "inference paradox". That is to say of the inversely proportional relationship that exists between the level of certainty and the quantity of information produced by an inference. In a deductive speech, all of the truth is implicit in the premises: Then, why persist in the statement of the superiority of the axiomatic method compared to other discovery methods? If it is true that neither one or the other produce absolute certainties, at least the second one produces useful inferences that increase the knowledge.

This is the conclusion reached by Cellucci at the end of his essay, which attempts to take into account the various phases of development of the logical sciences of the past millennium.

If we aim not to assign the logic and its rigorous formalism to the absolute uselessness it does not increase knowledge nor does it give absolute certaintiesleaving the scientific practice to the irrationalism of ad hoc models of more and more heuristic type, then we must rescue the role of a logical methodology in the definition of the rules of discovery. And this, even if the wide application of ad hoc models is a practice that today prevails in the field of research, since it allows a free exploitation of science.

All of this means renunciation of the identification of logic with the axiomatic method alone and renunciation of confining the research of rules to simply the rules of the proof. Therefore the effort of synthesis between "thought which is thinking" and "thought which is thought," between "pre-symbolic intentional thought", constitutive of logical symbols, and "symbolic representational thought", manipulator of already constituted symbols, that is characteristic of the research on intelligence in the cognitive sciences, is part of a more general research of a dynamical synthesis and of a "stability out of equilibrium.

As in the cognitive sciences the Scholastic theories of complementarity between intellectus and ratio can constitute a model for the research of this synthesis, in a similar way in the logical sciences this model can be constituted by the Scholastic theories of complementarity between logica maior and logica minor. One might say that they are loaded with mental content, which cannot be appreciated other than by studying their material features.

Imitation, communicative gesturing, and tool use are examples of these kinds of actions. Neural correlates of consciousness The neuronal correlates of consciousness constitute the smallest set of neural events and structures sufficient for a given conscious percept or explicit memory.

This case involves synchronized action potentials in neocortical pyramidal neurons. Neurobiology and Neurophilosophy A science of consciousness must explain the exact relationship between subjective conscious mental states and brain states formed by electrochemical interactions in the body, the so-called hard problem of consciousness. Neurophilosophy is the interdisciplinary study of neuroscience and philosophy of mind. In this pursuit, neurophilosophers, such as Patricia Churchland[25] [26] Paul Churchland [27] and Daniel Dennett[28] [29] have focused primarily on the body rather than the mind.

In this context, neuronal correlates may be viewed as causing consciousness, where consciousness can be thought of as an undefined property that depends upon this complexadaptive, and highly interconnected biological system. The massive parallelism of neural networks allows redundant populations of neurons to mediate the same or similar percepts. Nonetheless, it is assumed that every subjective state will have associated neural correlates, which can be manipulated to artificially inhibit or induce the subject's experience of that conscious state.

The growing ability of neuroscientists to manipulate neurons using methods from molecular biology in combination with optical tools [31] was achieved by the development of behavioral and organic models that are amenable to large-scale genomic analysis and manipulation. Non-human analysis such as this, in combination with imaging of the human brain, have contributed to a robust and increasingly predictive theoretical framework.

Arousal and content[ edit ] Midline structures in the brainstem and thalamus necessary to regulate the level of brain arousal. Small, bilateral lesions in many of these nuclei cause a global loss of consciousness. To be conscious of something, the brain must be in a relatively high state of arousal sometimes called vigilancewhether awake or in REM sleep. Brain arousal level fluctuates in a circadian rhythm but these natural cycles may be influenced by lack of sleep, alcohol and other drugs, physical exertion, etc.

Arousal can be measured behaviorally by the signal amplitude required to trigger a given reaction for example, the sound level that causes a subject to turn and look toward the source. High arousal states involve conscious states that feature specific perceptual content, planning and recollection or even fantasy. Clinicians use scoring systems such as the Glasgow Coma Scale to assess the level of arousal in patients with impaired states of consciousness such as the comatose statethe persistent vegetative stateand the minimally conscious state.

Here, "state" refers to different amounts of externalized, physical consciousness: These nuclei therefore belong to the enabling factors for consciousness. Conversely it is likely that the specific content of any particular conscious sensation is mediated by particular neurons in the cortex and their associated satellite structures, including the amygdalathalamusclaustrum and the basal ganglia.