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The Self and its Brain

An Argument for Interactionism
With John C. Eccles

“The problem of the relation between our bodies and our minds, and especially of the link between brain structure processes on the one hand and mental dispositions and events on the other is an exceedingly difficult one. Without pretending to be able to foresee future developments, both authors of this book think it improbable that the problem will ever be solved, in the sense that we shall really understand this relation. We think that no more can be expected than to make a little progress here or there. We have written this book in the hope that we have been able to do so.” Karl Popper and John C. Eccles, from the Preface

The Self and Its Brain is the result of a fruitful collaboration between the philosopher Karl Popper and the brain physiologist John Eccles. In this major work, the authors investigate one of the most puzzling riddles of humanity: the body-mind problem. The book proposes and defends some highly controversial hypotheses concerning the interaction between the body and the mind.

Popper introduces the philosophical issues surrounding the body-mind problem, and sketches the history of the problem from the time of Homer to the present day. Eccles examines the mind from a neurological standpoint: the structure of the brain and how it functions under normal as well as abnormal conditions. The book concludes with the edited transcripts of twelve conversations between the two authors, in which they attempt to come to terms with conflicting opinion.

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The self and its Brain