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    Psychiatry as science: the theory of brain-sign

    Clapson, Philip (2017) Psychiatry as science: the theory of brain-sign. In: Philosophical Issues in Psychedelic Drug Use, 5-6 Oct 2017, Royal College of Psychiatrists. (Unpublished)

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    Psychiatry fails to be scientific in supposing that organisms have a brain and mind, for there is no accepted scientific explanation of the mind/brain relationship. But while the brain is taken as a physical object accessible to scientific enquiry, that enquiry appears to demand the mind, specifically consciousness. For its constituents – perception, sensation, emotion, thought and language – make knowledge of the brain possible. But since consciousness is an unknown physical condition, and its function is undefined scientifically, enquiry appears forced into uncertain territory from the outset. A solution is to discard consciousness, and approach the topic in a different way. Hence brain-sign theory, which I have developed in recent years. The theory states that the brain phenomenon, supposed as consciousness, actually performs a crucial neurobiological function, which is to enable communication between brains in the collective action of multiple organisms, a condition that human life constantly entails. As a sign, brain-sign is a purely physical state. It derives, at each moment, from the brain’s current causal orientation. Thus, for example, what we seem to see as the world is determined by the brain’s causal orientation towards it – which is why we can appear to see the same thing differently, for causal orientation changes (cf. the conference topic). But we do not see, nor are there any other mental states. Loosely put, action cooperation with another requires that the ‘same’ world (as brain-sign) occurs in each, co-referencing the actual world. But the brain-sign, which ‘we’ are, is not causal. The brain’s role is causality, but it requires a neural mechanism for inter-neural communication to enable cooperation in the world. Thus psychiatry is offered a route out of prescientific dualism. The discipline should be concerned with the brain as a physical object. Replacing consciousness with brain-sign facilitates that development functionally and ontologically.


    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Other)
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Science > School of Psychological Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Brain and Cognitive Development, Centre for (CBCD)
    Depositing User: Philip Clapson
    Date Deposited: 28 Nov 2017 16:22
    Last Modified: 28 Jun 2024 06:03


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