Home Discussion Forum Is consciousness a product of the brain?

Is consciousness a product of the brain?

What I never really understood was if consciousness is a product of the brain,then why do people talk about there bodies as if there separate from them? Some examples are when people say such things as ” My body doesn’t like that kind of food.” Or someone says something like “whats wrong with my body? Ive never seen anyone look at a picture of there arm or leg, and say” Hey that’s me!” To me it sounds as if the mind is a separate entity from the body. Am I just crazy or has anything Ive said made any sense?


  1. With human nature, we think of our bodies as extensions of ourselves, even though they are ourselves. We seem to think of the consciousness as a separate entity and the body as a holding device.
    Humans have developed this way of thinking over a long period of time. Such as with the cavemen, they were very intrigued with their bodies. (or so we think) I like to think that humans have evolved so that our brains have become more efficient, in that when we do recognize ourselves, it is in the subconscious. So our brain does not have to devote too much time to a simple activity, and may go on to other things.
    Your question also goes into what a soul is.
    Hope this helps!

  2. just because the brain is connected to the rest of the body, and assuming that the brain generates a consciousness, dosn’t mean we have to strictly refer to parts of our body as simply being our self. we can still acknowledge that our arm is heart or that our organs don’t react well to certain chemical combinations ingested(food).
    all the evidence shows our consciousness is effected by blood chemistry and injury, in and to the brain, if injecting a chemical, or electrically disabling the function of a portion of our brain can cause us to become aggressive, or loos our ability to speak, why should we assume our consciousness isn’t a product of that thing we are effecting?
    your problem isn’t all that compelling, i think of it like this; my brain is who i am, these organs that are attached to my brain supply the nutrients that it needs to continue functioning. the power cord and the wall socket aren’t parts of your computer, but in order for your computer to work those too things need to be connected.

  3. > Is consciousness a product of the brain?
    Most modern cognitive scientists would say yes; they have long since discarded the dualistic idea of the mind being separate from the body. (See wiki’s article on dualism here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dualism_(philosophy_of_mind) ) Instead, they have come to view consciousness as an epiphenomenon arising from the workings of the brain. Which is to say that they feel that consciousness is inextricably linked to the brain. After all, thinking and memory are intimately dependent on the cortex and it’s difficult to see how it would work in the absence of one. When approaching the problem from this angle it’s not difficult to agree with John Searle view, that consciousness is purely an emergent phenomenon arising from activity of neural networks. (See: http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/Papers/Py104/searle.prob.html )
    At the same time studies are revealing that basic awareness may be retained even when in a vegetative state (See this article describing a patient who was still able to preform mental imagery tasks based on auditory cues whilst being ‘clinically unconscious’: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2007/09/25/is_she_conscious/ ) or suffering cardiac arrest — when the electrical activity of the brain appears to cease completely. (See Sam Parnia’s 2007 study of cardiac arrest patients here: http://www.horizonresearch.org/medhypothesis.pdf ) This is of course deeply troubling to most of us who have come to expect consciousness to arise from brain activity alone.
    Another school of thought that can perhaps rescue us here, suggests that consciousness arises from quantum neuronal process. (See this 2005 paper entitled ‘A quantum hypothesis of brain function and consciousness’ here: http://watarts.uwaterloo.ca/~sreinis/quantum.html ) Theories like these while they solve the problem of the ‘lights being on’ while in a vegetative state, are however still a minority interest — it’s difficult to see after all how incredibly fast but weak and remote subatomic processes could still exert an influence on the much larger neurons that make up the warm, wet macroscopic structure we call the brain. Even proponents such as Hameroff (1998) admit that much testing still needs to be done. (See his synthesis approach here: http://www.cogs.susx.ac.uk/users/emmet/qm1.html ) So I guess this means that the jury is still out on this one …
    All the best of luck to you and your emergent/quantum/’something else entirely’ field of consciousness.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here