The Significance of the Brain and Conscious Experience in Human Life
I have chosen to write on this topic of chapter one because it discusses the study of all of the physiological, evolutionary, and developmental mechanisms of behavior and experience. Much of biological psychology is concentrated and focused on studying the brain functions that a person will have to encounter when having to deal with the â€œmachinery of the bodyâ€ (p. 3). An example of the bodyâ€™s machinery are all of the chemical reactions of the body that allow â€œhormones to influence brain activity and the routes by which the brain activity ultimately control the contractions of musclesâ€ (p. 3). Also, I ...view middle of the document...
5). The law of conservation of matter and energy in physics states that â€œthe only way to accelerate matter, or transform energy, including matter and energy in your body, is to act upon it with other matter and energy (p. 5). You can conclude form this that if your mind is going to influence the matter or energy of your brain, or any other part of your body, your mind itself must be composed of matter (p. 5).
Those who choose to discard the belief of dualism entirely, will come across monism, which is the belief that the universe consists of only one kind of existence. I personally strongly disagree with this belief. Also, monism comes in various forms and is the immediate alternative to dualism. The various forms of monism include materialism, mentalism, identity position, and the phenomena of the easy and hard problems.
Materialism is a monist viewpoint that everything that exists is material or physical, and that it can also be expressed as all psychological experiences can eventually be explained in purely physical terms (p. 5). Mentalsim is also a component of monism and is the view that only our mind really exists. This further suggests that the physical world must â€œonly exist in our imagination, or only in the mind of Godâ€ (p. 5). The identity position viewpoint poses that â€œevery experience is a brain activity, even though the descriptions of our thoughts sound very different from descriptions of brain activitiesâ€ (p. 6).
When we begin to discuss the consciousness, we are not talking about the state of being awake or in a coma. Rather, we are referring to a state of awareness of self. We
can begin to make sense of the easy problems and hard problems, which monism speaks of. The easy problems â€œpertain to many phenomena to which we apply the term consciousness, such as the difference between wakefulness and sleepâ€ (p. 6), which are the mechanisms that enable us to focus our attention. The hard problems are the questions of â€œwhy and how any kind of brain activity is associated with consciousnessâ€ (p. 6). Chalmersâ€™ suggested answer is that consciousness is a fundamental property of matter- fundamental in the sense that it cannot be reduced to anything else. That is, we cannot explain; it just isâ€ (p. 6). It has been argued that hard problems are really just made up of a huge quantity of easy problems by philosopher Daniel Dennet. The text, comments on this by stating that â€œonce we fully answer all the easy problems, the hard problems will go awayâ€ (p. 6).
As noted in our text, â€œtoday many researchers are trying to understand the physiology of consciousness, and perhaps they will succeedâ€ (p. 6). I believe that to truly have an understanding of the physiology of consciousness would be a historic scientific breakthrough. I believe that this understanding is very far off for us. Afterall, the issue of what consciousness is, and to what extent, and to what sense it exists is the...