Demasio -Bits that jump out

I appreciate DeMasio’s attempt at including the reader by giving  examples and methods of understanding his theories and points. He has a conversational tone, Although he can get quite technical he still brings  the reader back with a light story or a task for the reader.  A few key points that jumped out at me while reading  is the all encapsulating tone of evolution; firing neurons  setting off cognition on a greater scale, the degrees of consciousness and emotions from proto then primordial to autobiographical. He also explores and reinforces the idea that there is a constant interplay between body and mind. Where each serves as a touch stone for the other in formulation consciousness of self and the external and internal world. Another  theme that runs throughout is  “the brain’s making maps of itself making maps.” the feeling of this quotes is this constant rolling or embroiled process that doesn’t stop.

The David Hume quote used by DeMasio – that in his opinion dismisses the idea of self. I don’t exactly agree that this is a dismissal. because in his statement ” they (mankind) are nothing but a bundle or collection of different perceptions, which succeed each other wit and inconceivable rapidity, and are in perpetual flux and movement.” (p 11) This assertion by David Hume reinforces the idea of the revisionist autobiographical self and what that entails. Perceptions serve as viewpoints, that are constructed through interactions with objects and events, and the constant flux is the  revision of that perception , isn’t the the defining aspect of the autobiographical self?

  • Adaptive behaviors mimicking those caused by the mind and levels of conscious thought. this assertions claims that to survive all organisms do not have to have a  mind per say but a properly functioning brain  that provides that primordial messages to steer the body… Moving on to Primordial feelings DeMasio brings up (barely) in Chapter 4 of “Self Comes To Mind”  If the primordial self is a pre- autobiographical self then how can there be primordial feelings before an autobiographical self?
  • Bringing the body to mind is the ultimate expression of the brain’s intrinsic aboutness, it’s intentional attitude regarding the body. ( P 90)
  • Intent is the basis of mental phenomena- single celled organisms appear to have intent in their behavior yet don’t in DeMasio’s explanation, because they lack the autobiographical self.  However they do have  a core consciousness therefore, couldn’t one argue that the intent/ drive  to survive is the basic tenet of all organisms therefore multi celled/ complex organisms as well as single celled/ simple organisms can express intent,


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