The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Subjective Experience

The Brain and the Inner World: An Introduction to the Neuroscience of Subjective Experience

Mark Solms

Language: English

Pages: 362


Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This work is an eagerly awaited account of this momentous and ongoing revolution, elaborated for the general reader by two pioneers of the field. The book takes the nonspecialist reader on a guided tour through the exciting new discoveries, pointing out along the way how old psychodynamic concepts are being forged into a new scientific framework for understanding subjective experience - in health and disease.

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to run before we can walk. “TESTING” PSYCHOANALYTIC THEORIES One final point. There is naturally a desire to use (or to use too quickly) neuroscientific methods to “test” psychoanalytic theories: “Is there really such a thing as repression?” “Are dreams really motivated by wishes?” Such tests may well be possible in the future, and one of the many promising prospects of neuro-psychoanalysis is that it should allow us to ask and answer such metapsychological questions—questions that cannot

we discussed in the case of Phineas Gage were the result of massive damage to this system. In summary, then (and as a broad generalization), various regions of the cerebral hemispheres participate in dealing with the outside world. The posterior regions receive information from the outside world and process it in accordance with previous experience, to establish what objects are of interest. The anterior systems act on the external world. In traditional faculty psychology, the operation of these

we have good reason to believe that we understand pretty well how the equivalent real intellectual functions work. (Such knowledge, of course, has many practical applications.) In relation to the hard problem, the question is this: Is it really possible to make a mind? If it is possible, then the really big question of how consciousness is actually generated is solved. Can consciousness really emerge from an interaction of computer chips? Is it really just a matter of information processing? If

consciousness—that is, value—is imparted to objects, and objects come to be known as “good” or “bad.” Consciousness is not only what you feel, it is what you feel about something. Thus, even if the evolutionary “dawn of consciousness” was purely introspective, in a rudimentary biological sense, it probably quickly generalized, and our external perceptual modalities, too, became imbued with feeling (with consciousness). In this way, our external perception was transformed from being a set of

recognize a single one of the professionals who have worked with him at such close quarters over all these years.9 Today, when the hippocampus is removed for the treatment of complex-partial epilepsy, neurosurgeons resect only one hippocampus, and we expend a great deal of effort to ensure that it is the diseased and not the healthy one that is removed. If both hippocampi are diseased, then the operation is absolutely contraindicated (on the assumption that it is better to have epilepsy than

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