Hermeneutics, Neuroscience and Theological Anthropology—A New Way of Talking about Human Experience

Hermeneutics, Neuroscience and Theological Anthropology—A New Way of Talking about Human Experience

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Confronted by the various advances in science and technology in the 21st century which shed new insights into the genetics, physiology, psychology and behaviour of man, one cannot but reflect on our understanding of the nature of human experience in light of these new breakthroughs. Tracing the journey of the quest of the understanding of the nature of human experience over the centuries our society has indeed travelled a long way from the pre-modern notion of soul, the early modern notion of mind, the late modern notion of brain and the postmodern notion of self. While these various attempts through theology, philosophy and science to elucidate the nature of human experience have provided profound insights into our very own existence and experience they continue to represent contradictory and mutually exclusive discourses on the human experience.

This thesis attempts to demonstrate the usefulness of the notion of multi-layered personal narrative as a new way of talking about human experience. It originates from the reading of the Changeux-Ricoeur Dialogue, What makes us think?, which explores where and how science and philosophy meets.

The Journey From Soul to Self

Philosophical anthropology is a specific discipline which explores issues of human nature. It has been argued that a concept with the depth and breadth such as “consciousness” is required for addressing the complex and paradoxical issues of human nature and experience1 and there is a contemporary revival of interest in consciousness across the various disciplines of theology (the “basic question” of Pannenberg2), philosophy (the “hard problem” of Chalmers3) and neuroscience (the “final frontier” of Andreason4).

This philosophical anthropology discussed in this essay on ways of talking about human experience is more focused than those usually or previously understood. Four broader meanings are generally accepted: (1) the account of man that is contained in any comprehensive philosophy; (2) the particular philosophical orientation of humanism in which the study of man provides the foundation for all else – a position that has been prominent since the Renaissance; (3) the distinctive 20th century form of humanism that takes the human condition, the personal being-in-the-world, as its starting point; and (4) the anti-humanist reference to any pre-scientific or non-scientific study of man. These meanings were seen at different stages of the recorded history where the philosophy of man varies according to the prevailing philosophy, theology and science. 5

For the ancient Greeks, metaphysics was the first philosophy. According to Plato’s dualism, the identity of man derives not from the material body but the immaterial soul. Aristotle rejected Plato’s dualism and saw the soul as the form of the body that gives life and structure to the specific matter of a human being.

During the medieval period, theology was given primacy and the creation story, the fall, redemption and eternal life after death formed the basis for the doctrine of man. Philosophy was assimilated into Christian thought. The works of Augustine gave prominence to Platonic views and regarded the body as a prison of the soul and a mark of man’s fallen state. Drawing from Aristotle, Aquinas rejected the Platonic tendency to devalue the body and insisted that body and soul formed a psychosomatic unity.

In the cultural context of the Renaissance, the rise of humanism witnessed the themes of the dignity and excellence of man expressed in works such as Giovanni Pico della Mirandola’s influential De hominis dignitate oratio (Oration on the Dignity of Man) which broke with Greek and Christian traditions by insisting that man distinguish himself from the rest of creation in that he has been created without form and with the ability of making of himself what he will. This optimism was essentially the product of Neoplatonic thought which views man as at least potentially a nonnatural, godlike being. However there was also a more skeptical and Aristotelian view that stressed the limitations of man’s intellectual capacities.

These two anthropological perspectives became more clearly articulated through the rise of scientific thought during the 16th and 17th centuries. Michel de Montaigne, the 16th century French skeptical author of Essais, was probably the first to adopt the empirical approach in anthropological reflection, arguing that one could only rely on senses and satisfy with appearances rather than metaphysical certainty or church dogma. By contrast, Descartes continued the theme of optimism about man’s capacities for knowledge for himself by the proper use of his reason. During this period, one also witnessed the development of physical anthropology stimulated by European encounters with the great anthropoid apes of Africa and Asia, and the rise of cultural anthropology made necessary by the encounter with people in the rest of the world during the great voyages of discoveries, which provided further impetus to the study of man in regard to his nature, abilities, earthly condition and relations to material environment.

While the Enlightenment in the 18th century was characterized by continual optimism in the ability of man to develop progressively, morally and materially by using reason to know both oneself and the natural world better, a divergence between rationalist and empiricist traditions persisted. By insisting that studies of the knowing and moral subject must be founded in philosophical study through the critical use of reason (i.e. man studied as a finite and rational subject, limited by the constraint that the content of its knowledge is given in the form of sense experience rather than pure intellectual intuition), Kant defined the scope of philosophical anthropology in the stricter sense adopted in this thesis. This is also the way philosophical anthropology is understood by Paul Ricoeur. 6

Ricoeur basically argues against dualism in his Freedom and Nature (1950). He understands human nature as basically fragile because of the disproportional tension of the infinite and finitude in human which results in his fallibility. 7 The notion of fallibility, rather than fallen-ness, is further elaborated in his Symbolism of Evil (1967) in which he criticizes Augustine’s doctrine of original sin though he acknowledged the Augustinian insight into the matter. This constructive and positive stance of critique is characteristic of Ricoeur. 8 As developed in Freud and Philosophy he describes this stance as a dialectic between the hermeneutics of renewal and the hermeneutics of suspicion. 9 He aims at recognition of the plurality of meaning or interpretation without running into relativism in The Conflicts of Interpretation. 10 He is not satisfied with a positivist, existentialist or phenomenologist understanding of man and argues for a narrative selfhood in his Time and Narratives (1984). 11 His idea of self was further developed in Oneself as Another (1990) which addressed personal identity and self agency. This work provides a link of his philosophical anthropology and his ethics, which he defines as “living well, with and for others in a just institution”. 12 This work also provides the basis for his dialogue with Changeux in What Makes us Think?13

The above historical sketch of various attempts of formulating an anthropological discourse highlights how these attempts have been influenced by tradition bound concepts, languages and choice of words and oscillate between one extreme of substance dualism (in order to preserve the primacy of the religious notion of divine revelation and soul) and the other extreme of secular humanism in philosophy and eliminative reductionism in science.

The Need for a “Third Discourse”

This never ending tension between scientific, philosophical and theological formulations has been explored by Ricoeur and various scientists, philosophers and theologians. 14 The notion of a multi-layered personal narrative this thesis explores develops from an attempt to formulate a “third discourse” suggested in the Changeux-Ricoeur Dialogue which they think may bridge science and philosophy and clarify the contemporary role of religion. To facilitate further discussion of the notion of a multi-layered personal narrative a quick review of the Changeux-Ricoeur Dialogue is in order here.

Ricoeur’s dialogue with Jean-Pierre Changeux, Professor of neurobiology at the Collège de France, can be seen as an attempt to bridge the gap between the forward focus on discoveries and advances of science on the one hand and the ‘narcissism’ of philosophy, preoccupied by an immense textual heritage, one that is uninterested for the most part in recent developments in the sciences. 15 On one hand Ricoeur’s synthesis of ‘reflective philosophy’, ‘phenomenology’ and ‘hermeneutics’ and his emphasis on the integrative power of ‘acting, thinking and feeling16 provides a promising approach to integrate ontology, epistemology and moral theology in the understanding of the notions of brain, mind, soul, self, person and human nature. On the other hand, Changeux, as the author of Neuronal Man 17 is also well qualified for the dialogue, drawing our attention to the fact that since the decisive event of a talk he gave on the neurosciences, shortly after Neuronal Man appeared, to a working group of the Comité Consultatif National d’Éthique dans les Sciences de la Vie et de la Santé, the committee that advises the French government on issues in bioethics, he has not ceased to reflect upon the question ‘How can neuronal man be a moral subject? 18

Their choice of the genre of dialogue for their discussion is significant. The genre is well established in the history of philosophical enquiry and can be traced back to the time of Socrates. The term dialogue is derived from the Greek term; dialektike (dialectic), meaning ‘to converse’ or ‘to discourse’ and the dialectic that is ascribed to Socrates is close to this sense. It refers to his conversational method of argument, involving question and answer. 19 While in the Middle Ages, the term was often used to mean simple logic, Kant applied it to arguments showing that principles of science have contradictory aspects. Hegel thought that all logic and world history itself followed a dialectical path, in which internal contradictions were transcended but gave rise to new contradictions that themselves required resolution. 20 Dialectic is therefore a sort of philosophical dialogue – a back and forth process between two or more points of view. There are various ways one might formulate this process. According to Baggini and Fosl, the dialogue takes the following form:

  1. One party advances a claim
  2. Some other party advances a contrary claim or the other launches into a critical analysis of the claim, looking for incoherencies or logical inconsistencies or absurd implications in the claim.
  3. The first party attempts to defend, to refine or to modify the original claim in the light of the challenge brought by the other.
  4. The other responds to the first party’s defence, refinement or modification.
  5. Ultimately, a more sophisticated and/or accurate understanding of the issue at hand emerges. 21

Baggini and Fosl further elaborate

Dialectic thinking or dialogue therefore involves some sort of opposition or contrariety between the various thinkers engaged in the process. This sort of opposition is often thought of as the ‘negative moment’ of the first claim… This dialogue process is often thought of as a sort of engine for philosophical progress… By struggling through a series of negative moments and resolutions to them, dialecticians believe that understanding of the truth emerges…Typically; dialecticians hold that thinking begins in a murky, incoherent morass of many, different, other opinions – some having a glimmer or partial grasp on the truth. Through confrontations with these others and their negativity, a more complete and comprehensive grasp of the one or oneness that is truth emerges. 22

However, dialogue does not always work. The historical and famous encounter and dialogue between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein on 25 October 1946 in King’s College, Cambridge lasted only ten minutes or 23 Changeux’s earlier dialogue with the mathematician Alain Connes saw “two debaters proceeded from such different premises and were sufficiently dismissive of one another that they resembled two French tankers passing one another at midnight.” 24 On this occasion, both Changeux and Ricoeur were fully aware of these potential pitfalls. In the Prelude which they co-write, they acknowledge their encounter as a dialogue in two voices which they see as a ‘candid and honest discussion of ideas seldom found in the world today’ and that this wholly free and open dialogue proved to be an exceptional experience’ for each of them. 25 It is indeed in the context of mutual recognition and admiration that they embarked unto this dialogue between neuroscience and philosophy with Changeux addressing Ricoeur as ‘a well-known and admired philosopher’26 and Ricoeur responding to Changeux’s ‘words of welcome with an equally warm greeting addressed to a renowned man of science and the author of Neuronal Man, a work worthy of the closest and most respectful attention.’ 27

The Changeaux-Ricoeur Dialogue is in 2 parts. The first part consists of a series of conversations focusing on the mind-body and related problems while the second part commences on various themes related to ethics. This paper focuses on the first part and also refers to the discussion on “the religious” in the second part. The following quotations summarise the first part of the dialogue:

To begin Changeux states that

As a molecular biologist I find myself confronted with a formidable problem: how to discover the relationship between these elementary molecular building blocks and highly integrated functions such as the perception of beauty and scientific creativity? (p.3)

As in his previous book Neuronal Man Changeux asks

How can neuronal man be a moral subject? (p.8)

Ricoeur responds

I will restrict myself, modestly but firmly, to considering the semantics of two distinct discourses – one concerning the body and the brain, the other what I will call the mental (p.14)

Ricoeur explains further

My initial thesis is that these discourses represent heterogenous perspectives, which is to say that they cannot be reduced to each other or derived from each other. (p.14)

Ricoeur admits that

My first problem is therefore epistemological : do neurosciences allow us to correct the linguistic dualism …? (p.21)

In other words, Changeux and Ricoeur acknowledge the multiple aspects or dimensions of the human being – molecules, beauty, creativity and morality and the fact that we humans have two rather distinct ways of talking about the human condition and they want to find out if neuroscience can help us deal with this dualism.

The contemporary dualistic understanding of the human being originates with Descartes. He sees mind and brain as two different substances – one immaterial and the other material. The challenge of this substance dualism for Descartes is to explain how these two totally distinct substances interact. His solution that the pineal gland is the site of interaction has long been demonstrated by the advances of neuroscience as incorrect. However the influence of substance dualism continues. A major attempt on tackling the issue of substance dualism was the dialogue that took place 3 decades ago, between Sir John Eccles, a Noble Laureate and at one time a neurophysiologist at the Howard Florey Institute in Melbourne Australia and the philosopher, Karl Popper, who spent some years in New Zealand. 28 While both entertain a dualism, Popper is more cautious than Eccles who actually argues for a top-down interactionism i.e. mind influences brain, using theories from quantum mechanics and locating the site of influence to microtubules in the cell. Eccles is probably the last neuroscientist holding a dualist position.

The Changeux-Ricoeur dialogue, similar to this dialogue between the philosopher Karl Popper and the neuroscientist John Eccles in the 1970s, highlights both the fruitfulness and hermeneutic difficulties in the synthesis of knowledge derived from different academic disciplines. However unlike the earlier dialogue, the Changeux-Ricoeur dialogue attempts to go beyond substance dualism in order to advance our understanding of the mind-body problem. The significance of the dialogue is that Ricoeur argues that the real issue is that of semantic dualism and not substance dualism.

Mental is not equivalent to the term immaterial in the sense of something non-corporeal. Mental experience implies the corporeal, but in a sense that is irreducible to the objective bodies studied by the natural science. Semantically opposed to the body-as-object of these sciences is the experienced body (p.15)

Ricoeur disagrees with the notion of eliminative reductionism which has been popularised by Francis Crick, of the double helix fame, in his book on consciousness The Astonishing Hypothesis which argues that mental events – sensation, emotion, cognition, volition, are nothing but brain activities.

Changeux concurs with Ricoeur

Once again I find myself in agreement with you. The discourse about the body-as-subject …as distinguished from the discourse about the objective body, or brain, comes under the head of the subject’s processes of mental states, knowledge, emotions, and even intuitions.

At first sight it may seem impossible to pass from one discourse to the other, as you suggest. This is an issue of great importance, we will certainly come back to it at length. (p.18)

Ricoeur is impressed by such insights especially when coming from a hard-core molecular biologist.

…The way in which you present the research program of the neurosciences, incorporating conscious process in it, makes it clear you are not a reductionist (p.19)

And we are sure that Changeux accepted Ricoeur’s assessment of his position as non-reductionist because Changeux responds

…Thank you very much – I am very frequently accused of being one! (p.19)

Ricoeur then moves on to highlight the common mistake of many neuroscientists and how neuroscientists should practise their trade.

…The philosopher has a duty, then, in reading scientific texts, to combine semantic tolerance with semantic criticism – to accept in practice what he denounces as a matter of principle, namely confusions that result from illegimately converting correlations into identification (p.40)

…The discourse of neuroscience is littered with such shorthand expressions – semantic short-circuits, in effect. They would be innocent enough if they were recognized, and in particular if they were improperly used to support “eliminativist” arguments made by philosophers such as Patricia and Paul Churchland and related claims for a material ontological monism, which I find naïve… (p.41)

In other words, Ricoeur and Changeux agree that we can exercise methodological reductionism (as semantic short-circuits) as long as we recognise the nature and limitation of such methodology and do not confuse that with eliminative or ontological reductionism.

This dialogue further highlights the nature of interdisciplinary dialogue itself, especially the tendency for two disciplines to attach different meanings to the same word. A considerable portion of the dialogue between Changeux and Ricouer is devoted to clarifying the meaning of terms used by the philosophical and scientific discourses – body and mind, brain and thought, the factual and the normative, knowledge and moral rules.29 A major question is what the role of each discourse is in the human meta-narrative and how each discourse relates and interacts with one another. Questions that were asked in the dialogue include: What role does neuroscience play in relation to other disciplines, especially psychology and phenomenology? Does a complete explanation of brain functions amount to a complete explanation of cognition, or are there aspects of experience that cannot be captured by neurobiology?30 As expected, Changeux is optimistic and confident about the power of the neurobiological discourse and insists that neuroscience is capable of providing a naturalistic account of all human experience31 while Ricoeur pays attention to defining its limits and argues that neurobiology will not be able to capture all aspects of human experience and that natural explanation must be supplemented by considerations that extend to reflectivity, experience, and social understanding. In the face of Ricoeur’s contention that neurobiology and phenomenology constitute two heterogeneous and irreducible discourses (a semantic dualism) Changeux attempts to defend why he privileges the former over the latter listing five scientific advances that significantly have altered our conception of the mind-body connection32:

  1. The understanding that anticipation and intention influence behaviour (this insight represents a break with behaviourism, which focused on conditioned responses, not on the possibility of human freedom);
  2. Neuropsychology, which focuses on structural and functional relationships between the brain and particular psychological and/or behavioural functions (and dysfunctions);
  3. Brain imaging to link neural architecture with the dynamics of thought and the development of emotional states;
  4. Electrophysical experimentation, in which, for example, sites in the brain are stimulated and subjects report the resulting experience;
  5. Work in brain chemistry, which has yielded drugs to treat psychoses and mood disorders.

Ricoeur admits neuroscience casts new light on human identity but reckons it raises as many questions as it answers as he observes, “The brain remains the privileged site of conflicts between science and faith.”33

This brief summary of the first part of the Changeux-Ricoeur Dialogue highlights the central issue of the compatibility between the philosophical and scientific discourses. In contrast to the discourse of naturalized phenomenology championed by Changuex34 is the phenomenological discourse “apart from the cognitive sciences”35 argued by Ricoeur’s hermeneutical theory.36 Changeux is prepared “not to go to war against phenomenology … [but] to see what constructive contribution it can make to our knowledge of the psyche, acting in concert with the neurosciences”,37 citing other neuroscientists such as Alain Berthoz and Marc Jeannerod, who has engaged in this kind of dialogue and at the same time drawing our attention to that fact that the potentially fruitful dialogue between phenomenology and the cognitive sciences is seemingly more appreciated by empirical scientists, rather than philosophers of either the analytic or continental-phenomenological schools.38 However when they address the question of esprit, a French term that may be translated as soul or spirit and its mental (intentionality, meaning, mutual understanding) and transcendental (the good, the just, the beautiful) connotations Changeux accuses Ricoeur of introducing teleology when the latter tries to include notions such as inspiration, encompassing enthusiasm, genius and religious feelings. Instead Changeux prefers the notion of conatus in the sense used by Spinoza (effort, strive, drive) a suggestion Ricoeur dismisses as scientific imperialism or hegemony.39

The second part of the dialogue focuses on the subject of ethics and larger issues involving the nature of evil, 40 war and peace, 41 religion and politics,42 as well as moral rules and an ethics of deliberation.43 They agree that humanity urgently needs to find a basis for ethics upon which both the secular and the religious may build. They ask whether there are elements in human nature that can provide a foundation for ethical understanding.

Ricoeur outlines a Kantian position that takes into consideration the biological notion of dispositions, manifested as capacities for individual action.44 Changeux draws our attention to what he calls the “three histories that take shape in the brain of each person: the evolution of the species, the individual’s personal history, and finally the social and cultural history of the community to which the individual belongs”.45 These histories, Changeux argues, lead to a Darwinian view on the importance of social instinct in the origin of morality. He cites the work of de Waal on animal morality as supportive of this idea.46 In response to this Ricoeur reminds us that there may be principles in the genesis of morality that are not reducible to neuronal or evolutionary principles.47 The challenge remains how we are to account for, through the evolution of the brain, the fact that a person forms the notion of the self, has unconscious drive to survive and conscious motivation and intention, sees the world, knows the “other” and experiences the transcendent and makes ethical decision. Ricoeur cautions us about reading evolutionary development of ethics in a retrospective way as ethics may have emerged on different principles. Against Changeux’s argument that cultures throughout the world have espoused some variation of the golden rule48 as moral rules “prevent individuals from behaving in ways that disturb their own lives as well as the life of the social group” Ricoeur instead reflects that “the golden rule is a point of arrival in evolution because it is a point of departure in moral reflection.”

Changeux argues that a natural and universal ethics is extremely difficult in a world in which political and cultural conflicts reign which he believes are in turn rooted in “differences of religious opinion.” 49 While Changeux admits that religious ritual may provide support for believers50 he longs for the day when a secular ethics of “universal appeal” that goes beyond cultural and religious differences is democratically accepted.51 Ricoeur acknowledges Changeux’s concern and agrees that one must pose the “terrible question for religious persons of how we are to explain the fact that religion is a source of war”.52 However Ricoeur is not as optimistic as Changuex about a universal ethics that does without the “the religious” as he understands that to belong to a religious tradition (or as a matter of fact not belonging to a religious tradition) is “to belong to a language” and one’s language is one’s “limit of the world and experience”. He argues that one will never reach a universal religion or ethics through syncretism but instead if one goes deeply enough into one’s own tradition one will go beyond the limit of one’s language and move towards what he calls the fundamental and what other reach by other route and as a result of that shorten the distance between oneself and others along the dimension of depth. He says “on the surface the distance separating us is immense but if I dig down, I draw nearer to the other , who travels the same path.” 53 Changeux responds by saying that if one travels the same path without religion it would be more effective. Ricoeur however insists on the reality of fragmentation of humanity and the multiplicity of discourses and religions.54 He prefers correctives rather than dismissal of the religious discourses which he sees as fundamental to the human experience. He reckons that one must confront the dangerous tendency of the religious person to claim to have sources of truth that are denied to others.55 He says he will correct this sentiment and educate believers to recognise three correctives – first, the religious sphere exists outside my religion; second, the non-religion of my contemporaries; and third, ethics should not be theologico-political but instead as a set of procedural rules for living together in a society where there are religious persons and non-religious persons.56 Ricoeur believes that religion points to deeper truth: it consists in “a fundamental approval which comes from somewhere farther away and higher than I am, in my courage to live and to make goodness prevail over the evil whose radicality I have both lamented and accepted.” 57 Ricoeur endorses the power of myth to coordinate the nature of the world with ethical commandments. Myth, he says, is a way of wrestling with enigma, and it is a product of wisdom.58 In response Changeux suggests that the aesthetic dimension (art and music) offers a simple way to bring us together – religare, the Latin root of our word “religion”- without running the risks that dogmatic discourses involve.59 Ricoeur responds by referring back to the medieval philosophers who link together the true, the good and the beautiful under the system of “transcendental”.

Following the above discussion, one can see at least three major issues raised in the Changeux-Ricoeur Dialogue. First, neither substance dualism nor eliminative materialism is a valid option for the mind-body issue. Second, there is however a “semantic dualism” between neuroscience and phenomenology that is irreducible to either of these. There is a need to overcome this semantic gap with a third discourse in the Spinozan sense which is to be facilitated by recent advances in neuroscience (molecular biology, evolutionary biology and connectionism) and insights from reflective philosophy, phenomenology and hermeneutics. Third, there is an urgent need for developing a “science” of ethics acceptable to both the secular and the religious in view of contemporary international violence through finding a common ground for the understanding of human nature.

On speculating the nature of this “third discourse”, Changeux repeatedly demonstrates the tendency to fall back onto an ontological approach and into the trap of substance monism and reductionism, based on his optimism on the advances of neuroscience. He is also very enthusiastic in exploring the possibility of a neuroscience of ethics. His adoption of Spinoza’s “unity of substance” discourse reflects his ontological and reductionist bias, if not epistemological/semantic confusion.60 Changeux emphasizes that the greater our power of explanation the greater our understanding of ourselves and the surrounding world. Scientific discovery, therefore, not only enhances our first-person experiences but brings individuals together through a common understanding of human nature. Science allows us to see the commonalities across different cultures and, thus, does nothing less than unifies a diverse world. In this way, science can be linked to a universalist notion of ethics and, on this point, philosopher and neuroscientist merge.61 In contrast Ricoeur also maintains a critical distance from neuroscience by keeping an eye on the irreducible quality of our reflexive nature. Ricoeur is concerned that neuroscience will reduce our personal experiences to mere manifestations of biological occurrences. Ricoeur emphasizes the danger in limiting truth to the restrictive methodology of the hard sciences. He reminds Changeux of the hermeneutic insight that different discourses reveal different aspects of reality, and that scientific discourse simply overlooks first-person description.62 Ricoeur consistently show a cautious and agnostic attitude towards the possibility of a third discourse. His focus is epistemological and identifies not only the semantic dualism between neuroscience and philosophy but also the more subtle one between cognitive science and philosophy. Ricoeur repeatedly highlights the danger of attempts to naturalise ethics and morality. He firmly argues for the discontinuity between ethics and morality and the importance of avoiding the mistake of semantic amalgamation. His assessment of Spinoza is again that of cautious agnosticism. However, he does acknowledge the possibility of ontological identity and identifying multiple intersections between the neuronal discourse and the phenomenological discourse.63

In summary the Changeux Ricoeur dialogue highlights that a valid “third discourse” has to be organised in a way that provide a level or structure of complexity, hierarchy and spontaneity that permits a subjective (“reflective”) and objective (neuroscientific) correspondence that does not impoverish the ordinary human experience. A successful candidate must possess the characteristic of a unique language that preserves both the subjectivity and objectivity of the discourse. This virtually rules out the current neuroscience research methods such as neuroimaging, neurophysiology and neuropsychology which still heavily rely on experimental designs that are simplistic and restrictive which are deliberately so to ensure verification and falsification. The breakthrough has to come from the development of new technology and/or new research paradigm. While the development of new technology that meets this requirement is very much an unpredictable scientific adventure, this dialogue’s demonstration of the plurality of discourse or polysemy of languages provides the hermeneutic insight that different discourses reveal different aspects of the reality and the total human experience. This definitely creates a legitimate opportunity for the non-scientific discourses (religious, aesthetic or creative) to inform, to contribute and to enrich our understanding of anthropology. Furthermore, the focus of this dialogue on ethics, culture, religion, art and music draws our attention to the relational and transcendental aspects of humanity. The notion of “relationality” or the notion of social self as the paradigm may allow an inter-subjective discourse that overcomes that objectifying nature of the current neuroscience discourse.

Following this understanding at hand, the “third discourse” will take the form of an anthropology of relationality that aims at going beyond biology and individuality, informed by Changeux and Ricoeur’s rejection of eliminative reductionism and their emphasis on ethics which is by definition relational. It will strive for allowing a rich formulation (a multi-layered or multi-aspect discourse – scientific, philosophical and theological) that reflects the complexity of the human condition, warranted by the Changeux-Ricoeur agreement on the undeniable reality of the plurality of discourses, the inescapable usefulness of ready application of knowledge from the ever-growing advances in neuroscience and the indispensable need for epistemological caution against semantic amalgamation as a consequence of scientific hegemony over other discourses. Furthermore it will insist on freeing what are traditionally regarded as religious discourse from dogmaticism and fanaticism. It will also permit inputs from the religious to enrich what Ricoeur calls the symbolic deficit (in non-believers) and to harmonise what Changeux calls the lack of common symbolism (in believers). This multi-layered personal narrative is going to be motivated by their shared yearning for the elimination of violence and evil and the enlargement of sympathy, tolerance, peace and beauty. It is further facilitated by the three correctives proposed by Ricoeur – to recognise and accept that the religious exists outside one’s religion, that one has non-religious contemporaries and that politics are just procedural rules for peaceful coexistence between the religious and the non-religious and not a theological-political phenomenon.

The Possibility of a Multi-layered Personal Narrative

By now it is clear that the major challenge for the notion of multi-layered personal narrative is how to put the different discourses together without committing the errors of substance dualism, eliminative reductionism and “semantic amalgamation” (oxymoron formulation) of the subjective and the objective while at the same time exercises “semantic tolerance” to methodological reductionism for the pragmatic necessity in the real world to use scientific “semantic shorthand” without the mistake of equating correlation with identity. This section attempts to argue that this tension between “semantic amalgamation” and “semantic tolerance” in the notion of multi-layered personal narrative provides a hermeneutics that facilitates the consideration of the three critical issues of causality, specificity and complexity in the interpretation of correlation.

The following discussion will provide a review of recent impacts of neuroscience of consciousness on psychiatry and a summary of conceptual and methodological issues encountered in the practice of clinical and research psychiatry in order to demonstrate that semantic dualism and methodological reductionism is a valid, realistic and feasible alternative to substance dualism and eliminative reductionism.

Psychiatry is the branch of medicine which studies the dysfunctions of human feelings, thoughts and behaviours. This task of psychiatry has always been challenging and we have witnessed through history the use of a variety of approaches in this endeavour – from psychoanalysis to neuro-imaging. This reflects the fact that the being or nature of humanity is complex, paradoxical and multi-dimensional (ontology) and that this dictates that the method of studying psychiatry has been eclectic and multidisciplinary (epistemology). Since to be human is to be physical, psychological, social or some may say spiritual, or in other words, being human is being able to sense, think, feel, will and act, some argue that a comprehensive study of the human psyche can only be achieved through a creative integration of observation (empirical), speculation (rational), experience (lived, observed, analyzed, understood), will (action, decision, desire, competence), faith (keeping trust, assent) and participation (praxis/practice). However, through the history of psychiatry, one repeatedly witnesses the fact that practitioners in the field tend to favour or privilege particular methodologies or to over-emphasize particular aspects of a subject, risking over-simplification of issues, misrepresentation of facts or compartmentalization of interpretation. We all have witnessed the unfortunate swing of psychiatry between “brainlessness” and “mindlessness” though the majority of practitioners struggle to maintain a bio-psycho-social or multi-axial approach in their diagnostic and therapeutic exercise.

The last decade of the 20th century was known as the Decade of the Brain. Advances in neurosciences have a big impact on psychiatry with new insights into the human mind and behaviours. The readiness of researchers to apply these new advances into areas of interest to psychiatrists can be seen in the comment of one of the leading world experts in psychiatry and neuroimaging. Andreason calls consciousness “the last frontier” for the neurosciences64 Jeeves, in his Human Nature at the Millennium, highlights how advances in neuroscience have caused a resurgence of interest in issues of interest to psychiatry

One hundred years ago discussion of “the stream of consciousness” took center stage in William James’s Principles of Psychology. Fifty years later psychologists had relegated consciousness to the wings. Today, a further fifty years on, once again it is moving to occupy centre stage. This change is not due solely, or even primarily, to the efforts of psychologists, but rather to the curiosity and widespread interest shown by physicists, mathematicians, neurologists, and neuroscientists. For psychologists this renewed interest is one aspect of cognitive revolution in psychologist that began four decades ago. Today psychologists take mental events seriously and have no doubts that their careful study, using diverse experimental techniques, can yield insights into how the human mind works.65

One can see how neuroscience has impacted on psychiatry by looking further at the study of consciousness. The most significant developments have been the capability of studying consciousness quantitatively, expanding the understanding of consciousness from cognition to emotion, further characterization and localization of specific aspects of consciousness, increasing awareness of the limitation of naïve reductionism and the role of personal and subjective philosophical presupposition in influencing the objective interpretation of consciousness data.

Finger, in his study of the pioneers in physiology and neurosciences, argued that Roger Sperry’s split-brain experiment and his demonstration of hemispheric difference, as a breakthrough in the study of consciousness:

As a result of Sperry’s discoveries, the subject of consciousness took on a whole new look. He showed that consciousness can, in fact, be studied in the laboratory under controlled conditions. Once shunned by most experimental psychologists and neuroscientists, his work helped stimulate the “cognitive revolution” – a movement to study thinking, problem solving, and other higher mental process with the tools of modern science.66

The fact that consciousness being studied in the laboratory is of ground-breaking significance is also echoed by another historian of science who reminds us of the famous saying of A.N. Whitehead that “the effect of physiology was to put mind back into nature.”67

Studying patients with neurological lesions, Damasio shows how absence of emotions in these patients can break down rationality. He argues, in Descartes’ Error, that rational decisions are not the product of logic alone but require the support of emotion and feeling and offers emotion as the scientific basis for ending the division between mind and body.68 In The Feeling of What Happens, Damasio further argues that human consciousness is consciousness of the feeling, experiencing self, the ‘very thought of’ oneself.69

Joseph LeDoux, in his The Emotional Brain, also gives primacy to feeling in consciousness.70 He further summaries his neurobiology of fear and consciousness in The Power of Emotion:

Feelings enter the picture at the level of consciousness…when a basic system such as a system for detecting danger arises in a brain that also has consciousness (that is, a brain that is aware of itself and of its relationship to the rest of the world), a new phenomenon occurs: subjective feelings. Feelings of fear, then are what happen in consciousness when the activity generated by the subcortical neural system involved in detecting danger is perceived, by certain systems in the cortex, especially the working memory system.71

Neuroimaging allows us to see brain and mind in action.72 Brain activation studies using PET, SPECT and fMRI have given us a fairly detailed picture of the specific functions of the individual structures of the brain.73 We can determine which brain regions are associated with each of the five senses, which regions are activated by motor behaviours, from whole-body movements to the wiggle of a little finger. We can watch various parts of the brain turn on and off as subjects do addition and subtraction, write a letter, experience pain, or gaze upon the face of a friend.74 Experts in the field talk about “the complete map of brain” 75 and “imaging of the mind”.76 The explosion of data in this field leads to some enthusiastic comments:

The conclusion to be drawn from this growing fund of knowledge is that every event that happens to us or any action we take can be associated with activity in one of more specific regions of the brain. This includes, necessarily, all religious and spiritual experiences. The evidence further compels us to believe that if God does indeed exist, the only place he can manifest his existence would be in the tangled neural pathways and physiological structures of the brain. 77

In contrast to Newberg’s confidence, Fenwick is more cautious in the interpretation of neuroimaging findings. In Meditation and the EEG, he explains that EEG is a gross measure of the summed electrical activity of the brain and that phenomena such as EEG coherence and symmetry do not in themselves imply anything dramatic about the nature of consciousness during meditation. At the same time he presents a powerful and simple argument against equating meditation with rest and sleep. Even though physiologically they appear indistinct, people are doing different things when they meditate, rest and sleep.78 Moreover they say these activities feel different from each other. Therefore, he queries the validity of a strict one-to-one brain-consciousness correlation and also the feasibility to use purely physical measurements to represent the psychological distinctiveness of various states of consciousness.79

Cairns-Smith, a molecular biologist, notes that there are two outstanding problems of science – the origin of life and the origin of consciousness. He summarises the unambiguous reductionist view of his discipline on consciousness:

The root phenomena of consciousness are feelings and sensations, for example feelings of hunger or pain, the sensation of the colour blue, and so on. And I take it that the means to produce all such forms of consciousness evolved: that the ability to make sensations such as pain and hunger was perfected by natural selection, because these sensations were useful…Now the ultimate means of production of any evolved function lies in material genes, in messages written in DNA molecules, and the only thing that DNA molecules can do is to organise other molecules. Therefore consciousness comes from an organization of molecules. It is part of the material world, the world of molecular machinery, quite as much as the ability to contract a muscle or convert the energy of sunlight into fuel…Brains are made of standard types of biochemical molecules, essentially the same materials as are found in all living things today. And very much of what goes on in brains can be well understood in terms (ultimately) of the activities of these kinds of molecules…80

However, he thinks that molecular biology falls short on explaining the origin of consciousness and acknowledges the inadequacy of reductionism:

But most of what goes on is unconscious. Consciousness remains a mystery. What today’s molecular biology fails to provide is an understanding of the origin of consciousness as a phenomenon, a proper understanding of what consciousness is in physical term…Molecular mechanics may explain how a muscle contracts, but how can it ever explain the sensation of a colour, or the nature and quality of a pang of guilt? Molecular mechanics and conscious experience seem to be worlds apart, as Descartes had insisted they were. But that is not what the theory of evolution says…William James gave us a general resolution of this dilemma more than a hundred years ago. In a nutshell: matter is not what it seems. Or as we should say now there must be more to biological material than is summarised in the models of molecular biology. To make any sense of this we will come to dig a bit deeper: science is not what it seems …81

This caution is also shared by Andreason who asks if mind is the brain, then where the soul or sense of self is. While she says that PET studies from her centre have linked some of these concepts to neural circuits, especially the inferior frontal-cerebellar-thalamic-frontal circuit, such links are “trivially reductionist”. She reckons that

…Mother Teresa will teach us more about the soul than a PET scan can…The recognition that each of us has an individual identity that we call a “self” or “soul” that our “self” is guided by a moral imperative, and that the moral imperative also transcends our individual “self’ and links us to other human beings exists with indelible certainty across cultures and continents. It is no coincidence that Jesus and Confucius independently came up with the Golden Rule.82

While the reductionist understanding is the most established and published approach in the study of consciousness in neurosciences,83 the fact that the material reductionist view does not have the final say on the science of consciousness is best illustrated by the comparison of the different interpretations by four Nobel Laureates:

For Jeeves, Francis Crick in following the reductionist approach, believes that one is nothing but a pack of neurones, no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. For him consciousness depends crucially on thalamic connections with the cortex. It exists only if certain cortical areas have reverberatory circuits that project strongly enough to produce significant reverberations. Together with Christof Koch, they suggest that consciousness may arise form certain oscillations in the cerebral cortex, which becomes synchronized as neurons for 40 times a second.84

By contrast, Jeeves sees Sir John Eccles advocating a dualism of substance. Consciousness is dependent on the existence of a sufficient number of such critically poised neurones and consequently only in such conditions are willing and perceiving possible. However it is not necessary for the whole cortex to be in this special dynamic state. As far as he is concerned, this provides a basis for the interaction of brain and conscious mind in that brain, receiving from conscious mind a willed action, transmits to mind a conscious experience. However, he gives the consciousness a primary order and everything else is derivative.85

As for Gerald Edelman, his neural Darwinism suggests to Jeeves that consciousness is something where we know what it is for ourselves but can only judge its existence in others by inductive inference. He refers to qualia, as experience that cannot be derived from any theory. He reckons consciousness is mysterious in the sense that each consciousness depends on its unique history and embodiment; and given that a human conscious self is constructed somewhat paradoxically by social interactions, yet has been selected during evolution to realize mainly the aims and satisfactions of each biological individual, it is perhaps that, as individuals, we want an explanation that science cannot give.86

Finally, in Jeeves’s view Roger Sperry believes that consciousness is conceived to be a dynamic emergent property of brain activity neither identical with nor reducible to the neural events of which it is mainly composed. Moreover, while consciousness exerts potent causal effects in the interplay of cerebral operations in the position of top command at the highest levels on the hierarchy of brain organization, the subjective properties are seen as exerting control over the biophysical and chemical activities at subordinate levels.87

The diverse interpretation of these four scientists on the same data set that support a neural substrate of consciousness remind us of the importance of the philosophical presupposition of the interpreter who will accordingly exclude certain explanations and give primacy to others. This highlights the fact of multiple discourses of human nature and experience and the realistic potential of a multi-layered personal narrative that applies semantic dualism and methodological reductionism.

The following example of how psychiatrists talk about depression will help illustrate how semantic dualism and methodological reductionism is being applied in the practice of psychiatry. According to neuroscientific discourse, an underactivity of the monoamine neurotransmitter pathway causes depression, which can be normalized by the use of the Serotonin Specific Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant medications. According to phenomenological discourse, depression is a process related to loss and grief. The two discourses are irreducible to each other, but are both meaningful to the depressed patient and relevant to the treatment of depression. Moreover it is clear that the two discourses together (or a bi-layered personal narrative in this instance) provide a fuller insight to the understanding and experience of depression though it is unclear how the two discourses correlate to each other.

Three examples from the author’s own research work will further highlight the problems related to philosophical presupposition in the practice of psychiatry and in particular what methodological reductionism means in research.

The first example refers to the study of brain structure and function of violent mentally disordered offenders.88 It is methodological reductionism in action. While not believing that the violence rating scale that I developed fully represents and describes the violence history and profile of my subjects – mentally disordered patients at Broadmoor Hospital, a maximum security hospital in Berkshire, England – all the same I rated the whole patient population, 192 of them, performed EEG on them, some of them having the post-temporal slow first described by Sir Dennis Hill. I looked for abnormalities at the amygdala hippocampal complex, qualitatively and volumetrically using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). I measured brain metabolic rate using positron emission tomography (PET) and performed co-registration between MRI data and PET data to look out for any localised changes. The results suggest that the non-repetitively mentally disordered violent offenders as a group has recuded glucose uptake at the right anterior inferior temporal (RAIT) region where the amygdale is situated, but this is not the case for the repetitive offenders. However I cannot overlook the discordance of findings between each modality of neuroimaging, that is not every patient has abnormalities present in all types of scan, and if present some of them are not on the same side of the brain. As a methodological reductionist I report the correlation but do not argue that the correlation is the cause of violent offending behaviour. Also as a methodological reductionist, as opposed to eliminative reductionists, one would be open to the possibility that these changes may be non-specific to the clinical variables and that the localised changes may be the artefact of the experimental design which, while being well defined, is not good enough to represent the complexity of the nervous system.

Indeed many researchers realise that it is not just ‘nothing but the brain’. Instead they hold that both psychosocial and biological factors are complexly involved in aggression and violence and that to ignore either is to invite error89. Following the approach of Kazogerakis90, a violent act can be seen as resulting from the additive effects of several variables which include demographic and constitutional profile, developmental antecedents, personality characteristics, neurobiological factors, facilitating circumstances (alcohol and drug use, active psychopathology, availability of means of violence) and precipitating events (insult, abuse, threat). In elucidating the relative contribution of each factor in this equation, findings in animal aggressions have provided valuable neurochemical, neuroanatomical and neurophysiological models for human violence research through experimental paradigms that are not feasible and ethical in human research, such as neurochemical manipulation, brain lesions and electrical stimulations91. The development of these neurobiological models has improved our understanding of the mechanisms through which psychosocial factors influence the development and maintenance of aggressions in human.

However, three issues of causality, specificity and complexity are repeatedly encountered in reading the literature on aggression and violence. Most research designs are correlational and even in cases when a causal relationship can be inferred; the direction of the relationship is frequently obscure. Longitudinal studies, particularly those starting in childhood, are therefore preferred for their strength in discriminating between antecedents and consequences. Together with transactional models and path analysis, these prospective studies have shed new lights in intergenerational transmission of aggression and the continuity of violence from childhood to adulthood. Specificity of findings is another cause for concern and is usually a consequence of unclear definition, the lack of control and biased selection. Many studies on EEG and epilepsy in violent subjects have that limitation. The notion of a “centre of aggression” would simplify matters but the evidence to support such a notion does not exist in current literature. The amygdala come close to be such a candidate92 as suggested by the convergence of findings in animal studies and recent human research on serotonin and the structural and functional changes at anterior temporal structures now accurately measurable in living brain with MRI and PET9394. However, most brain dysfunctions described in violent population are diffuse (or multi-site) as demonstrated by neuropsychological test batteries, neurological examination and surface EEG. This cautions against any simplistic model and highlights the complex nature of the neurobiological substrates of aggression and violence in humans. These diffuse or multi-site brain dysfunctions may elevate aggressiveness via cognitive impairment, which may lead to aggression through several mechanisms, including the inability to anticipate adverse future consequences of aggression, inability to resolve conflicts verbally, or in a more complex, indirect way, inability to cope with academic demands at schools and social tasks associated with growing up, eventually lead to delinquency and violence. In other words researchers have moved on from a simplistic localized model to a complex connectionist paradigm. Both the frontal-temporal-limbic model proposed by Yeudall95 and the Hypothalamus-amygdala-orbitofrontal hierarchy described by Weiger and Bear96 provide a paradigm of multi-site constructs for the study of brain function and structure in violent mentally abnormal offenders.

The second example is a PET study of auditory hallucinations in which the author participated as one of the principal investigators. The variability of the brain activation pattern associated with auditory hallucinations (religious and non-religious) among eight patients and the subjective dimension of the report of hearing voices again highlights the challenges of causality, specificity and complexity.97 In other words not only are the patterns of correlation between the subjective discourse and the objective discourse complicated and variable there are also problems with determining whether the correlations bear any causal relationship and how specific they are. Instead one may argue a multi-layered personal narrative, while not providing any specific causal correlations between the discourses, may provide a richer and more meaningful narrative of the hallucinatory experience to the patients.

The third example is a MRI study of volumes of hippocampus and amygdale in various stages of psychosis. It is found that there is an increase of amygdala volume in patients with affective symptoms and reduction in hippocampal volume in those with schizophrenic symptoms and that the volume changes are more prominent in the chronically unwell patients than those with a first episode of psychosis. Here one witnesses another example of complex patterns of correlation between a subjective discourse (different types of psychiatric symptoms), an objective discourse (volume of brain structures) and a third discourse of neuro-psycho-social development over time. A multi-layered personal narrative is arguably a more attractive option to a reductionist formulation here in addressing the various issues of causality, specificity and complexity .98

The Relevance of Critical Realism

The above examples from psychiatry show that multiple discourses are very often irreducible to each other and have complex, non-specific and unclear causal relationship. Moreover these examples highlight the presence of religious themes in some of the discourses. An eliminative reductionist approach will simply attempt to correlate “the religious” to variables of brain structure or function. However one can argue that the notion of multilayered personal narrative may be more useful or of more pragmatic relevance as it allows the incorporation of the religious or theological discourse. According to Alister McGrath in his Scientific Theology science and theology are looking at the same nature and reality and operating a posterior and that both science and theology involves provisional modelling (theory) subject to ongoing modifications informed by other advances in other academic disciplines, shifts of traditional paradigm and changes of the focus of their own community. For McGrath it is therefore feasible to align different discourses together in stratification to provide a richer and broader modelling of the reality. However following the notion of critical realism such a multi-layered discourse is only a model or correlate of the reality rather than identical to the reality. 99 This critical realistic approach to theological discourse definitely meets the demand from the Changeux-Ricoeur Dialogue for non-dogmatic and non-exclusive religious discourse. Moreover it provides an opportunity for dialogue with Ricoeur’s notion of “the religious”.

In other words the provisional modelling and a posteriori approach of critical realism has the potential of facilitating the juxtaposition of scientific, philosophical and theological discourses into a meaningful whole without committing the errors of substance dualism, eliminative reductionism and semantic amalgamation. One potential promising option of such juxtaposition of various discourses is to follow the way of understanding the self through emplotment and mimesis as proposed by Ricoeur’s narrative theory. 100 A narrative is a story of life lived expressed in and through language. In the case of the notion of multi-layered personal narrative the language used involves not only the theological and philosophical but also the scientific discourses and these apparent discordant discourses and the supposedly scattered events, experience and memories of human life become a meaningful story through the activity of emplotment which gives human life its temporal unity and its narrative identity. the notion of multi-layered personal narrative, through its inclusion of the scientific discourse as well as the philosophical and theological discourses, provides a substantial, meaningful and legitimate integration of the “idem-identity” and the “ipse-identity” as discussed in Ricoeur’s Oneself as Another. 101 Moreover the notion of multi-layered personal narrative operates through an understanding of time that incorporates both the Aristotelian idea of linear time and episodic succession and the Augustinian concept of the triple present – the present as past (memory), the present of the present (attention) and the present of the future (expectation) and therefore allows interpretation of complex correlations between the theological, philosophical and scientific discourses in ways other than the reductionist notion of specificity and causality. 102


In summary, the notion of multi-layered personal narrative acknowledges the optimism of Changeux on scientific advances and breakthrough, follows the dialectic between the hermeneutics of renewal and the hermeneutics of suspicion as proposed by Ricoeur and applies McGrath’s theological method of stratification as informed by critical realism. It provides a new way of talking about human experience that is informed by the never-ending advances in neuroscience, facilitated by the ongoing dialogue between various discourses through the mediation of philosophical hermeneutics of renewal and suspicion and the continuing engagement with a theological anthropology that observes facts and reason.



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4 Nancy Andreason. Brave New Brain – Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome. (Oxford: OUP, 2001)

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7 Paul Ricoeur, Fallible Man.

8 Paul Ricoeur. The symbolism of evil. (New York: Harper & Row, 1967)

9 Paul Ricoeur. Freud and Philosophy. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1970), p.32.

10 Paul Ricoeur. The conflicts of interpretation. Translated by Don Ihde. (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1974)

11 Paul Ricoeur. Time and narrative. 3 Volumes. Translated by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1984)

12 Paul Ricoeur. Oneself as Another. Translated by Kathleen Blamey. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992)

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15 Changeux and Ricoeur, ix.

16 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 4-5.

17 Jean-Pierre Changeux, Neuronal Man: the Biology of Mind, trans. Laurence Garey (Princeton, Princeton University Press, 2000)

18 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.8. Italics MW.

19 Anthony Flew & Stephen Priest (eds) A Dictionary of Philosophy (London: Pan Books, 2002), p.105.

20 Ted Honderich (ed) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995), p.44.

21 Julian Baggini and Peter S. Fosl. The Philosopher’s Toolkit – A Compendium of Philosophical Concepts (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2003), pp.43-44.

22 Baggini and Fosl, p.44.

23 David Edmonds and John Eidinow. Wittenstein’s Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2001)

24 Howard Gardner (2002) Mind and Brain: Only the Right Connections. see http://pzweb.harvard.edu/shatsnew/changeux.htm

25 Changeux and Ricoeur, ix-x.

26 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.3.

27 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.4.

28 Karl R. Popper and John C. Eccles, The Self and Its Brain : An Argument for Interactionism (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977)

29 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.11.

30 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp.24-25.

31 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.27.

32 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 41-63.

33 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp.16, 20.

34 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.27

35 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.67

36 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp.125-126.

37 Changeux and Ricoeur, p.85.

38 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 112, 131.

39 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 3, 169, 172-173.

40 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 279-298.

41Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 272-279.

42 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 259-272.

43 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 278-303.

44 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 212-222.

45 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 232.

46 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 188-191.

47 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 200.

48 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp.188-189, 194-195, 232.

49Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 260.

50 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 259-266.

51 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 264.

52 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 269.

53 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 270.

54 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 275.

55 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 296.

56 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 297.

57 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 286.

58 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 286-287.

59 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 303.

60 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 101.

61 Changeux and Ricoeur, p. 294

62 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp.75-92

63 Changeux and Ricoeur, pp. 40-41.

64 Nancy Andreason, Brave New Brain – Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 341-342.

65 Malcolm A. Jeeves, Human Nature at the Millennium – Reflections on the Integration of Psychology and Christianity (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1997), 174.

66 Stanley Finger, Minds Behind the Brain – A History of the Pioneers and Their Discoveries (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), 299-300.

67 Harrington, Anne. Medicine, Mind and the Double Brain (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1987), 3-10.

68 Antonio R. Damasio, Descartes’ Error – Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain (New York: G.P. Putman’s Sons, 1994)

69 Antonio R. Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens – Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness (London: Vintage, 2000), 8-12.

70 Joseph LeDoux, The Emotional Brain (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998).

71 Joseph LeDoux, “The power of Emotion” in States of Mind – New Discoveries about How Our Brains Make Us Who We Are (Roberta Conlan, ed; New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1999), 143-145

72 Michael I. Posner, & Marcus E. Raichle, Images of Mind (New York: Scientific Library, 1994).

73 R.S.J. Frackowiak, K.J. Friston, C.D. Frith, R.J. Dolan, J.C. Mazziotta, Human Brain Function (San Diego, California: Academic Press, 1997), 3-9, 356-359.

74 Rita Carter, Mapping the Mind (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1998), 180-207.

75 Arthur W. Toga, John C. Mazziotta, Brain Mapping – the Methods (San Diego, California: Academic Press, 1996), 3-23, 445-457.

76 Marcus E. Raichle, “Imaging the Mind” Seminar in Nuclear Medicine, Vol XXVIII, No.4, 1998, 278-289.

77 A. Newberg, Eugene D’Aquili and Vince Rause, Why God Won’t Go Away. Brain Science & The Biology of Belief (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001), 53.

78 C. Gottesmann, “Neurophysiological support of consciousness during waking and sleep” Progress in Neurobiology, Vol. 59, 1999, 469-508

79 Peter Fenwick, ‘Meditation and the EEG’ in The Psychology of Meditation (ed. Michael A West; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), 115-117.

80 A.G. Cairns-Smith, Evolving the Mind – On the Nature of Matter and the Origin of Consciousness (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), vii.

81 A.G. Cairns-Smith, A.G. Evolving the Mind, viii.

82 Andreason, Nancy. Brave New Brain – Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), 341-342.

83 A quick look at some recent published articles in the field reflects a predominantly reductionist approach – Valerie E. Stone et al. “Fontal lobe contribution to theory of mind.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol 10, No.5, 1998, 640-656; Elaine Perry et al. “Acetylcholine in mind: a neurotransmitter correlate of consciousness?” Trends in Neurosciences, 22, 1999, 273-280; Christian Perring, “The Neuron doctrine in psychiatry” Behavioural and Brain Sciences, 22 (5), 1999, 846-847. And the list goes on.

84 Francis Crick, Astonishing Hypothesis – the scientific search for the soul (New York:Touchstone, 1994), 13-22.

85 John C. Eccles, Evolution of the Brain – Creation of the Self (London: Routledge, 1989), 327.

86 Edelman, Gerald M. & Tononi, Giulio. Consciousness – How Matter Becomes Imagination (London: The Penguin Press, 2000), 157-192.

87 C. Trevarthen (ed.) Essays in Honor of Roger W. Sperry (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990), 282-285.

88 Wong M, Lumsden J, Fenton G, Fenwick P (1993) Violence Ratings of Special Hospital Patients. Journal of Forensic Psychiatry, 4, 471-480; Wong MTH, Lumsden J, Fenton GW, Fenwick PBC (1994) Electroencephalography, computed tomography and violence ratings in a maximum security mental hospital. Acta Psychiatric Scandinavica, 90, 97-101; Wong MTH, Fenwick PBC, Fenton GW, Lumsden J, Maisey MM, Stevens J. (1997) Repetitive and non-repetitive violent offending behaviour in male patients in a maximum security mental hospital. Medicine Science and the Law, 37, 150-160; Wong MTH, Fenwick PBC, Lumsden J, Fenton GW, Maisey MN, Lewis P, Badawi R (1997) Positron Emission Tomography in male violent offenders with schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging, 68, 111-123; Wong M. Neuroimaging in Human Aggression. In Martinez Mauela (ed) Prevention and control of aggression and the impact on its victims (New York: Kluwer Academic, 2001), 83-94

89 F.A. Elliot (1992) Violence – the neurological contribution: an overview. Archives of Neurology, 49, 595-603.

90 M.G. Kazogerakis (1974) The sources of individual violence. Adolescence Psychiatry, 3, 323-339.

91 B. Eichelman (1992) Aggressive Behaviour: From Laboratory to Clinic. Quo Vadit? Archives of General Psychiatry, 49, 488-492.

92 J.P. Aggleton (1993) The contribution of the amygdale to normal and abnormal emotional states. Trends in Neurosciences, 16, 328-333.

93 A. Raine and A Scerbo. Biological Theories of Violence. In J.S. Milner (ed.) Neuropsychology of Aggression. (Narwha, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1991), 1-25.

94 P. Fenwick (1993) Brain, mind and behaviour: Some medico-legal aspects. British Journal of Psychiatry, 163, 565-573.

95 L.T. Yeudall (1978) The neuropsychology of aggression. Clarence Hinks Memorial Lecture, University of Western Ontario.

96 B. Weiger and D. Bear (1988) An approach to the neurology of aggression. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 22, 85-98.

97 D.L. Copolov, DL, M.L. Seal, P. Maruff, R. Ulusoy, M.T.H. Wong, H.J. Tochon-Ganguy, G.F. Egan GF. (2003) Cortical activation associated with the experience of auditory hallucinations and perception of human speech in schizophrenia: a PET correlation study. Psychiatry Research Neuroimaging, 122, 139-152.

98 D. Velakoulis, M.T.H. Wong, S.J. Wood, P.D. McGorry, W. Brewer, T. Proffitt, P. Desmond, C. Pantelis (2006) Hippocampal reduction in schizophrenic psychosis and amygdale enlargement in affective psychosis: An MRI study of first-episode psychosis and established schizophrenia. Archives of General Psychiatry, 63, 139-149.

99 Alister McGrath, Scientific Theology – Nature (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2001); Alister McGrath, Scientific Theology – Reality (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2002; Alister McGrath, Scientific Theology – Theory (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2003)

100 Paul Ricoeur. Time and narrative. 3 Volumes. Translated by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1984)

101 Paul Ricoeur. Oneself as Another. Translated by Kathleen Blamey. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992)

102 Paul Ricoeur. Memory, History, Forgetting. Translated by Kathleen Blamey & David Pellauer. (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2004)