Neurological Sciences

, Volume 39, Issue 9, pp 1509–1517 | Cite as

The mind-body problem in the philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience: a physicalist naturalist solution

  • Sandro NanniniEmail author
Review Article


Using an analysis of a voluntary action caused by a visual perception, I suggest that the three fundamental characteristics of this perception (being conscious, self-conscious, and provided with a content) are neurologically implemented by three distinct higher order properties of brain dynamics. This hypothesis allows me to sketch out a physicalist naturalist solution to the mind-body problem. According to this solution, primary phenomenal consciousness is neither a non-physical substance, nor a non-physical property but simply the “format” that the brain gives to a part of its dynamics in order to obtain a fine tuning with its environment when the body acts on it.


Cognitive neuroscience Epistemology Consciousness Self Intentionality Mind-body problem 


Compliance with ethical standards

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animal performed by the author.

Conflict of interest

The author declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

It was not necessary to obtain any informed consent by anyone since the article is a philosophical general reflection without any reference to particular persons.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia S.r.l., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze Sociali, Politiche e CognitiveUniversità degli Studi di SienaSienaItaly
  2. 2.SienaItaly

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