Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain
What happens when we accept that everything we feel and think stems not from an immaterial spirit but from electrical and chemical activity in our brains? In this thought-provoking narrative—drawn from professional expertise as well as personal life experiences—t ...more
Overall, Churchland (a neurophil ...more
Being a young aspiring experimental psychology graduate with a minor in philosophy, I find the work of Patricia Churchland refreshing. A philosopher who actively works in the psychological sciences!? Astounding! About time philosophers with questions about the mind actually look to the experimental results instead of philosophizing in an office chair (no disrespect, most philosophers are brilliant and ask in ...more
This book looks at the 'hard problem' of consciousness and goes about systematically explaining why it ...more
As a piece ...more
Touching a Nerve is an aptly book by Patricia Churchland, which uses current neuroscience research to answer deep philosophical questions, such as “Is there a soul?” “Where does morality come from?” “Are humans inherently aggressive?” and “What is consciousness?” She draws heavily from her experience growing up in a farm in rural Canada to relate to the audience and soften the blow of what is essentially a deliberate debunking of ideas espoused by religion regarding the soul, morality, death, fr...more
Chapter by chapter, memory to emotion, conscience to speech.
The question, however, remains - to whom? Scientifically minded need no proof, the believers do not care for scientific arguments.
All that reminds me a bit of the early Soviet public lectures on the possibility of life existing on Mars and there being no God in the sky, because Yuri Gagarin hadn't seen him. As if somebody who worked on his mis ...more
In studying the mind/brain, perhaps the most perplexing questions are these: "What is c ...more
Basically, Canadian farm girl turned philosopher throws curve balls at the establishment. You go!
This is an excellent narrative exploring both the science and philosophy behind the current realms of neuroscience and the brain. It deftly lays bare the arguments for dualism and shows why reductionism does not in any way make the experiences of the brain any less enjoyable or insightful just because the underlying causes and mechanisms are brought into the light. The title alludes to the fact that though many of the modern discoveries in brain science may be hard to take for many people, in ti...more
I was a bit disappointed. There is much more science here than philosophy. It's a good book that shows what we have been learning about the brain and how science can help address some of our big philosophical questions, but it stopped there. Churchland makes some interesting philosophical observations along the way but does not delve int ...more
Saw the author on The Colbert Report, so knew her position on "self" being completely electrical/chemical quantifiable response and that she doesn't believe there is a non-quantifiable part of human existence. Still, I thought it might be interesting to see what neurobiologists have learned lately about our gray matter in spite of not agreeing with her POV. I might have gotten through that aspect of the book, but fo ...more
Churchland is not exactly a bad author. Her use of folksy wisdom gained growing up on a farm as backing for her "neurophilosophy" is a bit questionable, but generally speaking, the examples and explanations are ...more
First things first, despite occasional figures that elaborate on br ...more
Read for the Northern Oklahoma Freethinkers book discussion group (meetup group).
The subject matter is something I've thought about, but never read about. Of course I've learned the basics about the brain in my school science class, but never as it relates to philosophy and sense of self.
It debunks the existence of a soul, which I pretty much didn't need debunking for.
On the one hand, it's meant for the layman. It's sprinkled with personal stories and makes for a more personal read.
On the other hand, it's only a little bit inte ...more
Instead, I would suggest reading the book "Brain Wars" by Dr. Mario Beauregard, a REAL neuroscientist!!! - a far better use of one's time.