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Mind as brain and brain as mind: the double face of the mind-brain relationship

Grant number: 14/20412-4
Support Opportunities:Regular Research Grants
Duration: December 01, 2014 - November 30, 2015
Field of knowledge:Humanities - Philosophy - Metaphysics
Principal Investigator:Jonas Gonçalves Coelho
Grantee:Jonas Gonçalves Coelho
Host Institution: Faculdade de Arquitetura, Artes e Comunicação (FAAC). Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP). Campus de Bauru. Bauru , SP, Brazil


I propose a non-reductive physicalist account of the mind-brain relationship according to which the mind is an emergent property of the brain, which make possible the action on the brain itself and the interaction with the physical and socio-cultural environment. According to this view, in order to understand the vast majority of human phenomena it is essential to consider the two inseparable faces of the mind-brain relationship, the mind as brain and the brain as mind. I intend to show, in line with the contemporary scientific development, that without the mind, in its cognitive and affective aspects, the brain would not have built a socio-cultural world. If everything that the brain produces is a result of its structure and functioning, on the other hand, its structure and functioning at every moment of its ontogenetic history depends on the physical and socio-cultural stimuli it receives, and important part of these stimuli is captured by its special property, the mind. To develop this "double-face view" of the mind-brain relationship, I will focus on three of its key points: 1) The nature of mind. I will argue for both, that the mind is irreducible to the brain and that consciousness is the essential property of the mind. 2) The mind as brain. I will present theoretical and experimental tools of modern neuroscience to support the thesis that the mind results, and must therefore be understood from the brain activity, which is inseparable from the body and the physical and socio-cultural environment. 3) The brain as mind. I will invoke the evolutionary biology and the contemporary neuroscience to sustain the idea that the mind is essential for the structural and functional organization of the brain, what implies to take in account the adaptive function of consciousness, and the role it plays in the interaction of the brain with the body and with the physical and socio-cultural environment. (AU)

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