Forum Philosophicum

Volume 17, Issue 1, Spring 2012

Hans Goller
Pages 5-26

Mortal Body, Immortal Mind
Does the Brain Really Produce Consciousness?

Neuroscientists keep telling us that the brain produces consciousness and consciousness does not survive brain death because it ceases when brain activity ceases. Research findings on near-death-experiences during cardiac arrest contradict this widely held conviction. They raise perplexing questions with regard to our current understanding of the relationship between consciousness and brain functions. Reports on veridical perceptions during out-of-body experiences suggest that consciousness may be experienced independently of a functioning brain and that self-consciousness may continue even after the termination of brain activity. Data on studies of near-death-experiences could be an incentive to develop alternative theories of the body-mind relation as seen in contemporary neuroscience.