Consciousness

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The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has a excellent primer on the basics of the Philosophy of Consciousness. It is a useful introduction to the topic and would be good background reading to those who struggle a bit with Philosophical aspects of the course.

Action Potentials 101

We say neurons send electrical messages to each other. Really, they send electrochemical signals. What this means is that chemicals in the body of the cell cause an electrical signal. When electrically charged, chemicals are known as ions. In this context, when thinking about neurons, important ions in the nervous system are sodium, potassium (positively charged), calcium (positively charged) and chloride (negatively charged).

When a neuron is at rest, it is not sending a signal. (more…)

Neurons 101

Neurons are brain and nerve cells that transmit electrical activity around the brain and to and from your body, sending messages and allowing you to think. There are several types:

  • Sensory neurons: these carry signals from the outer parts of your body (periphery) into the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord); these help you sense the world around you.
  • Motor neurons: also known as motoneurons, these also carry (more…)

Consciousness through the Minds of Philosophers: Materialism

The soul persists but the body does not, many religions hold, but what if consciousness is just a result of the physical and nothing more? This is what modern materialists hold.

Materialism; a brief history

Materialism rose through the ranks with the advent of (more…)

Consciousness Through the Minds of Philosophers: Dualism

Exploring the true nature of consciousness has plagued the minds of philosophers and scientists alike for hundreds, if not thousands, of years. If you study consciousness, however, you already have a philosophical view on consciousness perhaps without knowing it. A view you might hold is dualism: that a conscious mental state is something non-physical at least in some way. Specific dualist theories may differ on the amount of the non-physical, depending on your view of what….

Dualism; a brief history

Historically, intelligence and thought was considered something non-materialistic and unknowable in the physical – something akin to the soul. This emphasis on the mind rather than the body orginates with Plato, who believed the world to be made of several elements including t (more…)