Self Of Damasio And Descartes

.. ility to think, and that you do not have direct access to yourself. All of your identity comes from the mind, and the underlying self stays the same over time. He thinks that your body undergoes many changes, but your mind stays the same. Now I will move on to Damasios views and what influenced him to believe that the mind and body werent separate after all.

Damasio believes that for pain, happiness, depression, sound, and pleasure, something happens in the brain. He speculated, do the brain and body work together, or is it all a result of the brains processes? He believes the brain just explains the emotions. He thinks that pain is just an inbuilt mechanism for survival, and that all of the moral principles in society were derived from survival techniques. He thinks that reasoning involves immediate processes in the brain and that every single one of our notions go back to some sort of biological basis. In Damasios work there is a great focus on evolution and moral principles to explain the behavior of the people. He got some insight from Freud, who had the idea of mind, soul, ego, and super ego.

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You get ideas from your influences, which become internalized, and these are the rules, which allow a person to live. He concluded that reasoning is our only form of decision-making, and that certain markers in the brain function in an automatic way. Reasoning, he deduces, is a conditioned response in the ways and methods that the brain operates. Damasio thinks that the mind is a condition of the body, and that there is no true “self”. Another philosopher, Hume, says, you can be aware of things or unaware, there are different ways of experiencing things. If you want to think of a “self” you must construct it yourself.

All the self could possibly be is a collection of experiences tied to a certain body. You dont find a true “self”. One can remember certain experiences which no one else can, and feelings too. These experiences are all related in memory, there is no difference between the conscious state and the neural state. This is very similar to Damasios views, of not believing in a “self” of any sort.

There is also the notion of the”amounculus” which is a body, holding a directing mind. The “self” is a reconstructed biological state. In reality, there is only the neural state according to Damasio. All you know about an object you get from experiences, moment by moment you are experiencing yourself. Animals cannot think and have no notion of self; he uses that idea to support his arguments about humans. Since we evolved from animals we must be very similar to them.

The so-called”self” we believe to experience is just a series of successive responses in the brain, and the ability to think this way is only a result of the advanced development of the brain. Experiences are just part of a neural state. An example that is brought up is the example of the water and the H2O, where the water is the experience and the H2O is the neural state. Damasio notices how these are the same, and this relation just furthers his point of how the mind and body are the same. The mind is just made up of the physical states of the brain. Damasio also ponders that although your body grows and changes, you are the same person.

There is the “Myth of the Self”, which also adds to Damasios argument. It is a memory network, there is something behind these experiences, and there is nothing that can be called “the” self because in relation there is no “the” rose. So there is no “self” he concludes. The mind is the brain, and when you have experiences it is due to a physical occurrence in the brain, such as neurons interacting. Once a complete neurobiology is completed, Damasio believes one could know “you”, simply due to the patterns of neurons interacting in the brain or whatever processes are discovered. He thinks that one could not have experiences without the actions of the body, although the brain is continually generating mental experiences.

The sematic map: Pain is not in your knees, but in your mind, and the body continually does things to regenerate the body image. Now, to compare the thoughts of these two philosophers, one must recognize their most obvious difference. Descartes believes that there is a distinct separation between mind and body, and Damasio believes that the mind is the body. Damasio believes that Descartes error is the fact that he separates the two. He thinks that this is the greatest error possible because he strongly believes that the mind and body are one, that the mind is the body. One area where they agree is the fact that the body changes over time.

According to Descartes that shows that one would not be the same person if the mind is the body, but Damasio thinks that it is obvious that one undergoes changes in thought process over the years as they acquire more experiences. Which to him is what the “self” really is, simply a collection of experiences linked to a body. Descartes believes the “self” to be all of your thoughts, and a sense of being, a “soul” individual to each person. He believes in the afterlife where you simply exist as a soul and your soul is essentially your “self”. Damasio thinks that when you die and are brain-dead you cease to be a person.

Once no more neurons are interacting you dont have any thoughts or experiences. These two philosophers have very different notions about all of the major principles, which leads to their complete disagreement. Mainly, Damasio disagrees with Descartes because he doesnt believe in the idea of a “self” or a soul individual to each body. Because of this, their views differ on almost everything else because without a common foundation, it is impossible to agree on rational terms.