How does the brain make me conscious of myself?

  • 1 Replies

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Offline Odd Arne Klinge

  • First timers
  • *
  • 1
    • View Profile
How does the brain make me conscious of myself?
« on: 04/04/2011 22:30:03 »
Odd Arne Klinge asked the Naked Scientists:
Hi, newbielink: [nonactive].

I am a pure scientific believer and belive that everything can or will be explained by science.  But there is one thing that I cannot get my head around.  And that is the "soul".  The thing that makes me me.  I think therefore I am.  Are there any credible or serious science on this?  And are there any credible hypothesis?

I guess that it has something to do with the composition of the brain, but how can that make me conscious of myself?

Kind Regards
Odd Arne

(yes, my first name is Odd, but it means arrowhead in norwegian, as Arne means eagle)

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 04/04/2011 22:30:03 by _system »


Offline JMLCarter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • 143
    • View Profile
How does the brain make me conscious of myself?
« Reply #1 on: 10/04/2011 22:56:18 »
If we leave the concept of a "soul" out of it for now it will be easier. It kind of depends what you mean by "Soul".

Regards the property "self awareness" it is a bit simpler. A view of the brain is that it is (at least) a machine for predicting the future. It examines the current state of its environment, and tries to predict course of action that will ensure its continued survival.

Now add that it is also examining the body it is in, and making predictions about that. It has more information because of the wealth of sensors that send signals about the body to the brain. This is feedback. The brain can assess that physically it feels good or bad on any given day.

Now consider that there are much shorter feedback loops from one part of the brain to another. That abstract concepts such as "likes/dislikes" "other people" etc are monitored by the brain. It knows when it is happy all the time, or when it is sad. This is self-awareness.

Is it a soul? I think not, as typically it is considered that the soul is something that persists in some way after death. That's starting to look scientifically unfounded or unlikely at the current time. Also it is something that it is comforting to believe, which makes scientists suspicious of such belief.

However there are weird observations sometimes pop up. Like I seem to remember someone observed that the speed of some sensory inputs from the feet to the brain appeared to exceed the scientific maximum speed of neural impulses. Certainly it would be foolish to assume that science has uncovered everything there is to know in this area.
« Last Edit: 10/04/2011 23:03:12 by JMLCarter »