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On 28 Aug 2001, at 20:33, Dace wrote:
> From: Vincent Campbell
> > <Sheldrake offers the phenomenon of "phantom limbs" as evidence for
> > morphic
> > > fields. Unlike an inanimate object, the body wants to be whole.
> > > When
> > > arm is lost, the individual invariably reports that somehow it
> > > still
> > > to be there. This makes perfect sense from the morphic point of
> > > view. The fields that regulate the structures of the body are
> > > arranged in a nested hierarchy. Protein fields are nested within
> > > organelle fields, which are nested within cell fields, which are
> > > nested within tissue fields, and so on. The field for an arm is
> > > part of a larger field embracing the rest of the body. So it
> > > can't be removed just because the arm it regulated is gone. This
> > > would explain the sense that the arm is still there in some way.>
> > >
> > Do keep up Ted. Even those of us who follow this kind of stuff
> > through a combination of science magazines, popular science books,
> > and science TV shows know what's going on with phantom limbs.
> Are you sure about that? Have we explained phantom limbs or merely
> described what happens in the brain when phantom limbs are sensed?
> Why should signals from nerves where the arm was cut off induce a
> feeling that the arm is still there? Does this mean our sensation of
> our arms doesn't actually require arms in the first place?
That description is in itself an explanation. And no, of course the
fact that phantom sensation from nerve endings once subserving
severed limbs does occur does not mean that sensation does not
require arms in the first place - or do you sense more than two
arms at present? The brain must be wired, by experience, for
sensation from distal areas to occur at certain sites; eventually, the
area once subserved by the amputated limb is taken over and
utilized by the areas which are subserved by contiguous areas,
which is why one can stimulate the phantom sensation of a
severed limb by pricking those areas.
> Where does our sense of our body come from? Is it represented for us
> in a map in our postcentral gyrus, or do we directly sense our bodies?
> In other words, does the postcentral gyrus *contain* our bodily
> sensation or merely facilitate it? Sheldrake is suggesting that each
> of us does actually sense our body and not merely a representation of
> it in the brain. Our somatic perception is in some way related to the
> holistic, field-based organization of the body. Think that's weird?
> How about a postcentral homunculus?
> We don't live in our brains. We're not all nice and snug in a little
> box, with a TV in the occipital lobe and a stereo in the temporal
> lobe. Our mental life can't be reduced to the brain any more than our
> bodies can be reduced to our genes.
There is a reason why such a view is labelled 'naive realism' in
philosophical circles; if you sever the afferent nerve pathways that
naturally flow from a particular area of the body to the brain, they
no longer convey the data to the brain from the nerve endings
embedded in that distal area, and if anything at all is sensed after
such an action, it has nothing to do whatsoever with the actual
disposition of such an area, and rather to do with either the
stimulation of adjacent areas which have subsumed usage of the
cortical area formerly devoted to registering sensation from the area
to which the nerve pathways have been severed, or with random
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This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the
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For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing)
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