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aeraeber's picture

Brains and Reality

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Continuing on the brain=behavior topic. We looked at sponges in during oceanography lab this week, and it got me thinking about the discussion we had in class that the brain and behavior are one and the same.  Sponges don’t have brain, or a nervous system of any kind, but if response to stimuli is a form of behavior, then sponges certainly behave. They react to changes in the water current in their adult stage, and some are capable of swimming in their larval stage.  Maybe in this case the individual cell nuclei can be considered to be the brain, since the cells of sponges act mostly independently?  But sponges also act as entire organisms, so maybe that isn’t the case?
 
The idea that the self and the mind are constructs of the brain makes sense to me, since both are ideas. They’re not concrete objects that can be experienced through the senses.  But then, the senses are a function of the brain as well, so how we interface with the world, how we experience it, is then wholly shaped by the brain. The things we see/touch/hear/taste/smell are all processed by the brain, but something must exist for the brain to interpret. So, in my opinion the idea that the world as experienced by humans is a construct of the brain doesn’t contradict the idea that an external reality exists as well.  This, to me, is what makes virtual reality technology so interesting, the idea that the brain can be "tricked" into making us experience an environment other than the one where we physically are. 
 

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