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- ... a synthesis of science with moral values, despite previous views to the contrary, is today logically feasible, humanistically compatible and scientifically sound. (p. 5)
- Every voluntary act and/or decision by an individual or a group inevitably is governed, overtly or implicitly, by value priorities. In essence, what a person or society values determines what it does. (p. 11)
- Roger E. Bissell (1994). "Can 'Mentalist Monism' Save Mind and Morality from the Mechanistic Materialists?" Vera Lex, vol. 14, no. 1-2. pp. 84-87. online
The two most important questions regarding human consciousness or mind, for Sperry, are: (1) can conscious experience exist apart from the brain? and (2) can conscious experience exert causal influence over brain activity, and thus human behavior?
In answer to the first question, dualists, who believe that there are independent, co-existing mental and physical worlds, say yes -- which allows for a number of ways that consciousness might exist apart from matter, including the possibility of a conscious afterlife, as well as other kinds of supernatural and paranormal ideas, such as belief in God or in Extra-Sensory Perception. The monists, on the other hand, say no: there is only one world, the world of physical things and their attributes, motions, and relationships; and the conscious mind cannot exist apart from the functioning brain of a living being.
In answer to the second question, materialists say no: consciousness (if they grant its existence at all) is a causally impotent by-product, inner aspect, or parallel correlate of events in the brain. Mentalists, however, say that, yes, consciousness somehow does exert control over the brain, controlling and guiding our behavior; mind and brain somehow interact with one another.
Mentalists or interactionists have typically been dualists, while materialists are monists. Sperry stakes out a third position: mentalist monism. He sees consciousness and mind not as ghostly, otherworldly phenomena, but as "emergent functional properties of brain processing," i.e., "dynamic, emergent (pattern or configurational) properties of the living brain in action." ... And, like other emergent phenomena that arise from the development of complex, multi-level systems elsewhere in nature, conscious and mental states -- being part of the highest level of the human organism's hierarchic structure -- are not only influenced by lower-level processes (atomic, molecular, cellular, metabolic, etc.), but also act as "functional entities," exercising "downward causation" on those subordinate processes, as well as acting at the same level on each other (e.g., a memory helping to cause a thought, or a value to cause an emotion).
- Literature/1972/Popper [^]
- Literature/1973/Eccles [^]
- Literature/1976/Popper [^]
- Popper, Karl and Eccles, John (1977). The Self and Its Brain: An Argument for Interactionism. Routledge, 1983. [^]
- Eccles, John (1979). The Human Mystery (The Gifford Lectures 1977-1978), Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1979. [^]
- David Bohm (1980). Wholeness and the Implicate Order. London: Routledge. [^]
- Sperry, Roger (1983). Science and Moral Priority: Merging Mind, Brain, and Human Values. New York: Columbia University Press, 1983. [^]
- Literature/1984/Popper [^]
- Literature/1994/Eccles [^]