RE: Song of Myself

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Wed Aug 29 2001 - 11:20:51 BST

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: Song of Myself
    Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2001 11:20:51 +0100
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    >> 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?>
            What do you mean by 'why' here? Are looking for motivation or
    something? The feelings don't come from the point where the arm was cut
    off, but from the region of the brain responsible for dealing with signals
    from that limb, when that region has been appropriated by the brain for
    other purposes.

            < Does this mean our sensation of our arms doesn't
    > actually require arms in the first place?>
            What it means is that our sense of body comes not merely from the
    external stimuli to our limbs, but from the interal organisation of the
    brain. Hence we can have sensations of a limb even when that limb no longer
    exists, because the part of the brain relating to that limb is still there
    and still being used. You can show this kind of thing the other way around.
    People who suffer specific kinds of brain injury exhibit all sorts of
    strange shifts in perception despite retaining all their senses (e.g. the
    stroke victim who couldn't work out how a mirror worked, when he was allowed
    to see out of one of his eyes).

            <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.>
            If you want a holistic notion of our experience you can have it, you
    just don't need weird fields to do it. I believe they even produce little
    models of humans based upon the amount of brain activity related to our
    senses (very big hands, and facial features are large too).


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