PSYC 211 Lecture Notes - Materialism, Phenology, Mutation
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PSYC211 Lecture 1 - January 9, 2012
•The brain vs. the heart:
•Brain is object of awesome power and a mystery
•Mystery lies in that it controls almost all human functions
•Some Ancient Greeks believed differently. For example, Empedocies and the
Chinese believed that the heart was where one’s emotions and thoughts resided
•Aristotle believed the heart was the place where thought took place
•The heart hypothesis has left a mark: love being symbolized by love, cupid,
“heartless”, “oh my blood boils”. Although not accepted scientiﬁcally, it did leave
•What role does the mind play:
•“Mind is the function of the brain” - true or false?
•Does it control the nervous system?
•Is it part of the nervous system?
•Is it a physical entity?
•Is it a spirit?
•This is the crock of the mind-body problem. How is the physical brain related to the
•Two main approaches to the Mind-Body Problem:
•Monism: The mind and brain are the same thing; the mind is a phenomenon of the
working of the nervous system (i.e. the brain)
•Dualism: The mind and brain (and body) are treated as separate; they are
fundamentally different. Religion played a great part
•Leonardo Da Vinci found ‘sensus comunis’ (common sense). Was found to be
false, but helped start understanding that brain controlled behaviour
•Rene Descartes: Mind-Body Interaction:
•Descartes believed that:
•Bodies were mechanistic
•Mind decided movements of the machine
•The body responded reﬂexively
•The mind interacted with the brain via the pineal body
•Animals do not have minds
•If one gets burned, they move because of reﬂex, not because of the mind
•Was ﬁrst to link an interaction between the mind and the brain that took place in
the pineal body
•Darwin and Materialism:
•Materialism: Rational behaviour can be fully explained by the workings of the
nervous system without the need to refer to a nonmaterial mind
•Natural Selection and Evolution:
•Despite the diversity of living organisms, there are a number of similarities between
•In all cases, these bones serve as the anterior limb of the animals body
•In all cases, the bones have adapted to suit different functions
•Functionalism: Characteristics of living organisms perform useful functions
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