Saturday, April 30, 2005

Split brain and mind/body question

So I did my paper on the split brain topic. I noticed the whole topic is based loosly on the fact that the brain is the mind. This is because the idea behind the argument is if u seperate the brain hemisphere's the number of minds that person has is not clear. For you extreme dualists out there, should this arguement even be brought into question? If the brain and the mind are mainly seperated, would seperating the hemispheres affect the number of minds that someone has? Would it affect the mind at all from your point of view, or just the translator, ie the brain? What happens if you were to transplant the two halves of the brain into two different bodies; where would the mind go? Can the mind be split up? This plays off of the broken soul idea i guess. What happens in these special split brain cases from a dualist's point of view? I am a fan of Nagel's theory that there is no answer to the number of minds a split brain patient has. However, I was thinking that a dualist might think that if you split up the brain the mind still stays perfectly intact, or fairly intact. However, which half of the brain does the mind go with if both halves are transplanted? I know this is kind of a ramble, but I'm having trouble forming the dualist take on split brain patients, maybe someone can help me out.


Blogger SatishTalim said...

Thanks for stopping by at

8:43 PM  
Blogger Dan McCormick said...

I think that the two most plausible solutions would be that the mind remains intact, although it is represented (partially or fully) in two different people. This doesn't seem totally implausible, as the mind is a non-physical object, so it might not necessarily follow rules we normally associate to physical objects such as locality (needing proximity for interaction or cohesion) [although recent quantum mechanical experiments such as the aspect experiment suggest that perhaps even physical QM objects such as photons might not be local objects].
The other option, and the more likely in my view, is that the mind is split in two and each person recieves their own mind. This is still the materialist view however. In its support though, as each person would have different mentality, personality, etc, it seems that they would have different minds.


2:25 PM  
Blogger vtr14 said...

To me, it is no different than twins or triplets. In a way, they have a split brain as well as split bodies. Once the brain is working on its own, then a soul is attached. How? No clue.

4:23 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Hmm, that doesn't seem very logical or pluasible vtr14. I'm confused. twins and triplets start out split. In that case, if souls exist, a soul would be formed for each body. If a grown person has two half brain transplants into two new bodies, can the soul just split and reattach in two new places? Does that mean the soul has no attachment to the specific body, just the brain? Or would it not have to do with the brain at all just the mind, assuming the two are different. In that case, the brain mihgt move to two new different bodies, technicially I guess the mind would stay wiht the body and so woould the soul. This would mean the soul would stay wiht the body, and the body would have no way to communicate with the world. Well the body would die, and the soul would go??? to heaven? Hmm this doesn't seem very logical becaause the brain is still on earth communicating everything from the previous persons's mind, just wihtout the mind. Wait that confuses me beacase it would seem if the mind didn't go with the brain, the the brain would be useless without the mind, but it's not in this case.... Yeah i'm not really buying the twins explanation....

7:45 PM  
Blogger Sam Lehman said...

If the mind is an immaterial thing (the dualist perspective) then it cannot possibly be split because that would imply the mind has some substance to be split. In these split brain cases we know that often times the two halves of the brain have no communication (except for deep underlying structure that is related to emotion) and therefore act independantly of one another. This independant action makes it appear as though two separate minds are controlling these two different halves of the brain, but that is not the case. Instead I argue that nothing has really changed in the mind. The two halves of the brain deal in different media (the left half working with and through language, while the right half has no access to language, and often processes music instead). Each half of the brain acesses the part of the mind that is essential to its own functioning and actions, and the two halves simply no longer share the information they receive. This of course refutes the common belief (perhaps common misconception) that there is some sort of central viewer or humunculous which acts as the control center of the mind, where all information is shared. Each section of knowledge, or way of knowing or reasoning is compartmentalized, by medium, and subject matter. The halves of the brain access their related portions as they need to.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Sabrina Sitkoski said...

So on the idea of which half of the brain does the mind go with if the brain hemispheres are split and put into two different bodies, the question of which half is the original person comes up. Because if only one hemisphere survives, then most people seem to agree that that surviving part of the brain is that person. I think that the instant that the brain is split, the person who was had the whole brain is no longer is existence. That is any person that lives with either half of the brain is no exactly the same as the person who had the whole brain. So if the hemispheres are split and the two halves put into separate bodies, then each body with each half is a separate person. If the brain is split and only one hemisphere survives the transplant, then the surviving person is not the same as the person with the whole brain, but it is the most identical living person to the person that once had the whole brain. So that is my answer to what would happen if the brain were split.

10:09 PM  
Blogger Michael Silverman said...

My whole disagreement with the mind splitting is this. If you can split a mind once, why can't you do it again? It would seem you must be able to because the first person could be mentaly split. so the split person would have some different property than the first? This then implies that you can have people with infinitly tiny brains, and that seems even more strange.

12:05 PM  
Blogger DS said...

once you split a mind/ brain in two, technically there is facets of the original person in both. At the point of division, it would appear that both sides are the same-up until the microsecond when each side experiences it's ownsensations. at that point, they would become independent organisms, because each one would be having different experiences and those sides would be gaining different feedback from the information they were taking in. It has been proven in the past that if you sever the large cord connecting each side to stop or control seizures, the brain continues to function as 1 organism, connected in some way by proximity, so there is no need for them to be connected, but if taken apart, each side would be taking in it's own information and processing it independently.

4:21 PM  

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