The Brain and the Soul
This poetic and vivid expression of Sherrington is a felicitous initial theme for my discourse, which will depend so much on his courageous but unsuccessful struggle to resolve the mystery of man (Man on his Nature, Sherrington, 1940). No criticism is implied by the word “unsuccessful.” All of us who attempt to wrestle with this most intractable of problems cannot expect success in a venture that has eluded all philosophers and scientists from Aristotle to this present age. But there have been notable advances in the exploration of this vast and perplexing problem. Certainly, with our rapidly advancing knowledge of science, and particularly of biology and the neural sciences, we can anticipate that the problems can be “seen with new eyes.” There is of course an entrenched materialist orthodoxy, both philosophic and scientific, that rises to defend its dogmas with a self-righteousness scarcely equalled in the ancient days of religious dogmatism. I, for one, derive much encouragement from this die-hard resistance. It is good to feel oneself battling against a discredited establishment ! But of course I derive much more encourage- ment from the eminent scientists and philosophers who each in his own way has dared to adventure in these excessively difficult and dangerous fields of thought.
KeywordsCerebral Cortex Visual Cortex Nerve Cell Perceptual Experience Conscious Experience
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