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Epistemology & Philosophy of Science

Volume 44, Issue 2, 2015

Inês Hipólito
Pages 102-111
DOI: 10.5840/eps201544211

Mind and Brain States
Embedding the Mental in the Living Organism

With neurons emergence, life alters itself in a remarkable way. This embodied neurons become carriers of signals, and processing devices: it begins an inexorable progression of functional complexity, from increasingly drawn behaviors to the mind and eventually to consciousness [Damasio, 2010]. In which moment has awareness arisen in the history of life? The emergence of human consciousness is associated with evolutionary developments in brain, behavior and mind, which ultimately lead to the creation of culture, a radical novelty in natural history. It is in this context of biological evolution of conscious brains that we raise the question: how conscious brains connect with each other? In order to answer it, I will explore how brain states and conscious states each participate in dynamic interactive processes involving the whole organism. I will argue that a possible way to overcome the hard problem of consciousness might be based on the notion of embodiment as a process of embedding the mental in the living organism relating dynamically with the environment through the sensorymotor experience. In order to do so, I will provide an assembly between an anthropologic perspective of consciousness with contemporary Philosophy of Mind, Interaction Theory [Gallagher 2001, 2008; Zahavi 2001, 2008; Fuchs and De Jaegher 2009].