Here’s Samuel McNerney guest blogging at Scientific American (November 6, 2011) on “A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain”:
Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science.
Anyone who has ever heard of the concept of “getting drunk” knows that there is nothing counterintuitive about the concept. What about the famous Biblical story of Esau, who was very hungry, selling his birthright for a bowl of stew?* The true counterintuitive claim – the one the author dances around – is that our minds are merely our brains.
The same people who have always known intuitively that our bodies affect our minds do not, as a rule believe that. Which raises an interesting question: If reflections on our own experience cause us to conclude that the reductive materialist account is not true, why should it prevail because a coterie of materialists in science insists it is so?
Never forget: Eugenics used to be science too.
Perhaps McNerney doesn’t want to accept the materialist dictum, but can’t risk being one of the Expelled by exposing it, and its implications? If he unpacked it clearly, he’d be expected to affirm it.
* Like most good stories, that one is allusive and complex: Esau was an impulsive and headstrong man. What he did was not out of character for him, however unwise. Another man might have just tightened his belt.
That is the traditional understanding of the mind-body relationship: The body suggests or demands, and the mind chooses.
Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose