After providing all the funding for The Brain from Top to Bottom for over 10 years, the CIHR Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction informed us that because of budget cuts, they were going to be forced to stop sponsoring us as of March 31st, 2013.

We have approached a number of organizations, all of which have recognized the value of our work. But we have not managed to find the funding we need. We must therefore ask our readers for donations so that we can continue updating and adding new content to The Brain from Top to Bottom web site and blog.

Please, rest assured that we are doing our utmost to continue our mission of providing the general public with the best possible information about the brain and neuroscience in the original spirit of the Internet: the desire to share information free of charge and with no adverstising.

Whether your support is moral, financial, or both, thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Bruno Dubuc, Patrick Robert, Denis Paquet, and Al Daigen

Monday, 10 September 2012
Why You Are Not Just Your Brain

In the introduction to their 1991 book The Embodied Mind, Francisco Varela, Evan Thompson, and Eleanor Rosch noted that as of that writing, the cognitive sciences had little to say about what it means to be human in the concrete situations of everyday life. This criticism was aimed directly at the prevailing paradigm, according to which the human brain worked somewhat like a computer, with input, information processing, symbolic representation, output, and so on.

In contrast, the approach proposed by Varela and his colleagues, to which they gave the name “enaction”, emphasizes how much our reasoning depends on our bodies and on the environmental context in which they are situated.

This conception of thought as “embodied” thus involves not only the human brain, but also its dynamic relationship with the rest of the body, as well as the relationship between this brain/body system and the environment in which it operates.

Alva Noë, a philosophy professor at the University of California at Berkeley, studies the nature of perception and consciousness from this perspective of enaction. Though recognizing the undeniable, necessary contributions of neuroscience to our understanding of the human mind, Noë invites us to “get out of our heads” (from the title of his 2009 book, Out of Our Heads: Why You are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons from the Biology of Consciousness) and to realize just how closely our brain processes are interlinked with our environment.

From March 17 to 19, 2011, Alva Noë went in Montreal, Quebec, Canada to deliver a series of three lectures, one of which was preceded by a day-long symposium on his work.

i_lien Announcement for lectures by Alva Noë in Montreal, March 17 to 19, 2011
a_rec Alva Noë’s Web Site
i_lien 2009 Interview with Alva Noë: You are not your brain
a_lien 2008 Interview with Alva Noë: Life is the way the animal is in the world
a_lien Video of Noë presenting his book Out of Our Heads
a_lien In search of the enactive: Introduction to special issue on enactive experience

Body Movement and the Brain, The Emergence of Consciousness | Comments Closed

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