Mind with a Double Brain

Roland Puccetti, The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, December 1993, 44, 4, 675–691.

Excerpt: René Descartes seems to have been the first to ponder how our experienced unity of consciousness can arise from the neural activity of two bilaterally symmetrical ganglia of brain tissue. It is little short of astonishing that now, almost three and one-half centuries later, we still do not have an answer to the very simple question how one becomes two inside the head (or does it? See Sections 4 and 8 below).

In what follows I propose to analyze critically what I take to be the major contributions of brain scientists and philosophers of hte mind to this debate, in rough historical order. Of course the full story is much more complex; for a more detailed account I strongly recommend Anne Harrington’s recent excellent study (Harrington, 1987), to which I am indebted. The responsibility for conclusions reached in this paper remains, of course, entirely my own. …