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The cohabitation of brain and mind

Dr Anthony Korner

Does the brain think? Do neurones "cause" mental life? Does thought  "cause" behavior? Do drives, affects, anxiety or the search for relatedness and meaning "explain" human experience? Where philosophy attempts to speak to such matters the conversation often takes the form of an argument. Similarly in clinical practice many will take the position of "objectivity" and regard mental life as "merely subjective". Others will perceive "subjectivity" as paramount to the extent that embodiment becomes trivialized. Both positions might be seen as caricatures that involve significant elements of denial, either denial of personal existence or denial of material contingencies.

The philosophies of William James and Ludwig Wittgenstein offer a dynamic approach to experience that does not require the existence of a metaphysical, non-material world. James' notion of the "stream of consciousness" and that the "thought is the thinker" and Wittgenstein's notions of "language games" and language as a "form of life" are presented as a basis for an embodied yet dynamic philosophy of mind compatible with a humanistic, yet scientific, psychology. The dynamic core hypothesis of Gerald Edelman is put forward as a possible neuro-biological models that might permit a peaceful cohabitation between brain and mind, in contrast to the "killing scene" that occurs when one paradigm enters into mortal comortal combat with another.

Anthony Korner
Anthony Korner
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Dr Anthony Korner

Anthony Korner works in Sydney as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, primarily in public practice. He is Acting Director of the Master of Medicine (Psychotherapy) Program at the University of Sydney and is active in teaching and research as well as clinical practice. His research interests are in psychodynamic psychotherapy, linguistics and philosophy. He has published approximately thirty papers in journals and books. He was on the National Health and Medical Research Council Committee for the development of a guideline for the treatment of Borderline Personality Disorder 2011-13. He's completed a PhD in Linguistics, on psychotherapy. He is the Australian representative on the World Council for Psychotherapy and was Chairman of the organising committee for the 6th World Congress for Psychotherapy, held in Sydney in 2011.  

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