What’s in it for me? See the brain in a whole new way.
Mind and body. It’s one of the oldest dualisms in Western thought. In reality, it goes back to the ancient Greeks, so it’s unfair to pin it all on the seventeenth-century French philosopher René Descartes. But it’s become known as Cartesian Dualism, so his name is now synonymous with it.
Historically, it’s also come hand in hand with another dualism: reason and emotion. Reason, we’re told, is the province of the mind, operating at its highest, most purely logical level. Meanwhile,emotions lie in the lowly realm of the body, seething with its messy, illogical passions.
In one form or another, these dualisms continue to this day. Many scientifically minded people would disavow any belief in the mind-body division. The mind, they say, is just a product of the brain. But many of them would then split the brain from the rest of the body. And they’d also continue to split reason from emotion.
However, as we’re about to see, none of these dualisms stand up to scientific scrutiny. The brain, the body, reason, and emotions are inextricably linked together into one human web.
In these blinks, you’ll learn
- one of the most important parts of the brain involved in rational decision making;
- the stories of two men who lost that part of their brain; and
- the surprising connection they reveal between the brain, the body, reason, and emotions.