Brain research and dualism: how was that with the soul?

Brain research and dualism: How was that with the soul?

Is there something else? Image: Gerd Altmann on Pixabay (Public Domain)

Book Critics: John-Dylan Haynes’ and Matthias Eckoldts "Window into the brain" (Part 1)

Bucher convey knowledge. Unlike in trade journals or popular scientific media, authors can write very freely in beers: there are (usually) hardly any restrictions on content and scope. In the "Book" I discuss a chapter of a book that is particularly interested in or to give me a review. As usual, it’s about the subject area of philosophy, psychology and brain research.

Today is "Window into the brain: How our thoughts arise and how to read them" (Ullstein Verlag, 2021) by John-Dylan Haynes and Matthias Eckoldt in the spotlight. Haynes is director of the Berlin Center for Advanced Neuroimaging and Professor am Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience of the Charite Berlin. Eckoldt is experienced science journalist.

At the beginning, the authors refer to their at one "Professional survey agency" commissioned study on the context of brain and spirit. According to the results, over 90 percent of the dualists interviewed are. 22). Even in the interview with the Humanistic Press Service, Haynes meant recently: "According to surveys, over 90 percent of people are dualists." Father in the book is then argued – from the point of view of brain research – against this philosophical point of view.

What is dualism?

Under the body-soul dualism is usually meant that body (in particular brain) and mind or soul are different things; philosophically said different "Substances", who consist of oneself. This will take you to the possibility that body / brain and mind / soul can exist independently.

This point of view was and is traditionally important in many religions. And still, the ubergrobe majority of humanity has a religion.

The body-soul dualism is therefore an ontological position about how the world really is. In the case of a closer consideration, however, that Haynes and Eckoldt will be statements about that and about our realization – in technical language: ontological and epistemical statements – over a comb shear. With statements like: "The human mind can not be explained alone through the brain." (S. 20), It’s more about the insightfulness of brain research than the essence of spirit / soul.

I have been emphasizing for years and again how important it is to clearly separate statements on the one and statements about the knowledge / explanation on the other side (reductionism and the explanation of everyday phosphors). The question of the existence of Spirit / Soul is largely independent of the explanatory possibilities of brain research:

If, as today no doubt the case, the science does not "People in themselves" can not decide whether that is the nature of man (being) or to the opportunity of research (knowledge). Conversely, it is also possible that there is no soul, but people are still so complicated that we can not be fully explained scientifically. Just neuroscientists like to call the human brain the most complex, we know the subject of the universe.

How to turn it and turns: the question of the soul (dualism) to mix with the question of the explanation of man, is at least misleading, probably even wrong. But admittedly, Haynes’ and Eckholdts Procedure Supplies a good headline. And the Humanistic Press Service starts immediately. Whether good journalism is, MOGE everyone decides.

But no majority of dualists?

You can do it better. For example, the Psychology Professor Jochen Driving Mount 2006 raised the views under students. According to his survey, only around 40 (science) to 60 percent (theology) are more likely to pay for dualism. About as many went from a complemental view, the body and mind sees as two sides of a medal. Around ten to 20 percent (natural sciences) had a rather brain limited, reductionistic view (science and religion: conflict or cooperation?To).

In the incident, the possibility is not excluded that although there is a soul, but man is still explained by a complete scientifically. The goods are exactly the case when the foregoing of mind / soul and body / brain are strictly coupled together.

Because that’s it, which (especially biological) psychologists and (cognitive) neuroscientists have always been able to associate physical (body) reactions with psychic passes; and vice versa. Another further metaphysical interpretation about the "Besense of the psyche" is not necessary for this purpose.

And, one hore and amazed, already in the 17th./ 18. Century came to the idea that body and soul are closely associated, keyword "Psychophysical parallelism". With deeper text work, you could argue for the fact that even the pre-shot holder and naturalist Rene Descartes (1596-1650) amed a strict relationship between body and soul, in any case for dies-side life.

With the advent of science – in 19. Century then the energy conservation rate – philosophers became clear that descriptions of natural passages are in themselves and no exercise force must be accepted. Already in antiquity there were such considerations (the small durable one of the body-soul problem).

Then the adoption of a parallelity – or in Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz ‘(1646 – 1716) words: Harmonie – tempting between body and soul. This lost the contralination between the insights at least on a conceptual-logical level. Why then talk about souls? Consequently, later, the positions of the epiphanomalists (the psychic trials agreed all causal crafts) or eliminational persons (which deny the existence of mental advances).

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