Neurobiological explanations are reductionist

Biological approaches have been instrumental in explaining our complex body functions, so we also expect science to unveil the mystery of brain functions, including cognition and knowledge. Our capacity to intervene therapeutically in correcting many abnormalities, ranging from major depression to neuropathic pain, certainly indicates that neuroscience yields valuable information about mental health. Neuroscience also offers a reasonable approach for identifying the anatomical and physiological...

How qualia acquire their meaning

Qualitative experiences acquire their meaning by association to other experiences that provide their aboutness or reference this allows organisms without language to navigate the environment and to satisfy their biological needs. Infants quickly learn what to do when they feel thirsty, hungry, or in pain. Actually, there is evidence that the aboutness of most experiences may be innate, especially in some animal species that are born more mature than humans are and seem to know what to do...

The evolution of the brain from hominids to Homo sapiens

Our knowledge of the hominid brain progressed slowly to begin with, but new discoveries present a complex picture. Initially, the evolution in the size of the brain from 6 to 2 Mya was relatively slow and remarkably stable, being around 400-450 cm3, which is comparable to that of the great apes 5 . About 2 Mya, the hominid brain was slightly larger than ape brains, and intelligence started to play a major role in survival and natural selection, especially with the development of the first stone...

The tragic consequences of blind faith

There is obviously a wide spectrum of sects and cults. In the extreme cases, the cult leader is eccentric, with bizarre ideas, demanding absolute obedience. The leader becomes the self-appointed interpreter of God's will, and demands absolute faith, which may have tragic results. These leaders manage to convince the converted individuals to abandon their families, or bring them into the sect community, to which they must subsequently donate all their possessions. The followers often live in an...

Alzheimers disease destroys the self

Memory is one of the most fundamental properties of the nervous system, without which the individual self, culture, and history simply would not exist. Forgetfulness of recent events is common to normal aging, but it is also one of the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, which may inexorably progress to destroy the most essential characteristics of a person. Alzheimer's disease has achieved recent notoriety because its frequency has increased as a result of people living longer. The public...

Childhood indoctrination

Our beliefs are quite probably a direct reflection of early indoctrination. Individuals are most likely indoctrinated during the early stages of their moral and intellectual development. Although dogmatic, such indoctrination would appear acceptable, because revered by one's peers. An individual could thus be programmed to become anything imaginable, from a Tibetan monk to a kamikaze pilot. The power of indoctrination is illustrated by the willingness of individuals to die for contingent...