The case of a person with a broken neck can really clarify a lot of things if one would assume that the behavior that survived the damage of the nervous system reflects the actual human behavior. Is there any reason to assume that the surviving behavior is not partly due to some weird reaction to the damage? If I was to look back on the model of boxes discussed previously and to consider the fact that the model allows for the alternative pathways from a box to a box, would not this seem logical that if some pathway of the system was damaged, the output from the box could follow an alternative one, that is possibly not used in the ordinary situations?

But if I assume that the surviving behavior that we see in the person with a broken neck is an accurate reflection of what is going on in the nervous system, there are many cases of behavior that could be explained by it. The fact that when a person's brain and spinal cord are separated a person/brain does not feel the pain in his legs and cannot consiously produce a motion with his feet indicates that the brain and the spinal cord are responsible for the different functions in the nervous system. It also shows that the nervous system does not work as a string of lights on a Christmas tree: if one part of it is damaged the whole thing does not stop working. And this is the thing that I find hard to accept myself--how can a person still function (jirk the foot upon the pinch) when the nervous system is desrupted. But this principle of separate functions of the nervous system and the localization of "self" in the brain illustrated on the example of the broken neck person can really help to understand many other cases of behavior:

--for examlple, consider a person visiting a dentist. Let's say a person has a bad tooth ache. When a dentist gives a person local anastesia, a person stops "feeling" the pain while a dentist fixes his teeth. Does a person really stop FEELING the pain? No. As in the example of the person with a broken neck, the brain is disconnected with the affected area, and because of this loss of the communication, the brain does not "know" about the pain that actually exists. This is the principle on which the common painkillers work. But the case of the tooth-ache person is a little different because the nerves that are affected are actually connected to the brain, and the anastesia makes them to be inert towards sending the outputs and/or receiving inputs.

--Another example would be a paralized person. If a person is fully paralized, and cannot either move or talk, but his brain is undamaged, he can still function as a person. What I mean is, the person does not become less of a person, even though he cannot move or talk. So, I do not think that the idea mentioned in class that just because we cannot talk to a spinal cord, a spinal cord also could contain the "I-function", is right. In the case of a paralized person who has a damaged spinal cord and related nerves the surviving function is the "I-function", which means that the spinal cord is not really related to it at all.

So, as one can see, considering the case of a person with a broken neck can help one understand the separation of the functions between different parts of the nervous system. It also helps one understand the "I-function" a little better. It is also interesting to consider the relations between the "I-function" and the rest of the organism. For example, by using one's brain power, one can make an organism do things that ordinarily would be very dangerous (i.e. yoga, eating disorders).

Appropriate critique at outset, and then appropriate extensions. Yes, IS possible that what we see following damage is something totally different from how system normally works. But ... things tend to make sense on presumption that what we're seeing does relate to disconnection of semi-autonomous parts. Dental anesthesia indeed a related pheonomenon as is paralysis. I wasn't saying the "I-function" WASN'T in the brain, I was just saying it could ALSO be in the spinal cord (COULD be,we don't have a way to find out). And yes, we'll want to talk a lot more about when/where/why I-function interacts with rest of brain/nervous system. PG