Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor argues that Robert Epstein’s “transducer” theory of the replationship between the mind and the brain is an instance of getting something right:
Many of my posts here at Mind Matters News entail debunking nonsensical materialist theories of the mind–brain relationship. It is altogether fitting and proper that I do so. But, at times, thoughtful and very promising ideas are proposed by modern neuroscientists. One of those ideas is discussed in an essay in Discover Magazine by neuroscientist Robert Epstein.
Epstein, the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today Magazine, is a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology in California and holds a doctoral degree from Harvard University. He proposes that we re-examine a theory that has had a number of prominent proponents over the past several centuries.
It is the theory that the brain is a type of transducer, that is, a device or an organ that converts one signal to another signal, commonly from one medium to another. A microphone, for example, is a transducer that converts sound waves to electrical current. Your eye is a transducer that converts light to vision.
Epstein points out that a host of perplexing neurological problems, such as blindsight (the ability of some blind people to be aware of objects in their environment that they cannot consciously see), mindsight (the phenomenon during some near-death experiences of congenitally blind people in which they are able to see normally), terminal lucidity (the brief period of clear consciousness that sometimes precedes death in dementia patients), hallucinations and such diseases as schizophrenia, among many others, could be explained by the inference that the human brain focuses and transduces consciousness rather than generates it.Michael Egnor, “A neuroscience theory that actually helps explain the brain” at Mind Matters News (August 30, 2021)
Takehome: The ear transduces sound to hearing; the eye transduces light to vision. It is reasonable to infer that the brain transduces thought to body.
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The brain does not create the mind; it constrains it. Near-death experiences in which people report seeing things that are later verified give some sense of how the mind works in relation to the brain. A cynical neurosurgeon colleague told Michael Egnor that he could not account for how a child patient’s NDE account described the operation accurately.
Yes, split brains are weird, but not the way you think. Scientists who dismiss consciousness and free will ignore the fact that the higher faculties of the mind cannot be split even by splitting the brain in half.