Thinking it through carefully, the idea doesn’t even make sense:
It turns out that even a committed materialist like neuroscientist Steven Novella doesn’t really believe that.
A good place to begin is with Dr. Novella’s seemingly quite sensible assertion that “the mind is what the brain does.” This seems to be a version of a theory called functionalism. Dr. Novella is a bit imprecise about his own metaphysics but functionalism is the philosophical view that what makes a thing mental (rather than physical) depends only on its function, rather than on its matter. A thought is a thought because it does what thoughts do, regardless of the material substrate that gave rise to it.
This account, of course, gets the materialist off the hook. Materialists like Novella can explain (away) the causal gap between brains and thoughts by saying “Thoughts are what brains do” and leave it at that. It’s a “materialism of the gaps” argument.
There are problems with functionalism as an explanation of the mind. The most obvious problem is that functionalism, as understood in this way, is dualist. That is, Novella is invoking “what the brain is” and “what the brain does.” Even if his claims for functionalism are true, those are two different things.Michael Egnor, “Why the mind can’t just be the brain” at Mind Matters News
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