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Title: The nature of mind
Author: Oyebode, O. K.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 1998
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This thesis argues that mind is a property of the brain, that it has no independent existence of its own and that it is not a substance of any kind. It distinguishes between mind, consciousness and self. It argues that consciousness, like language, memory, perception, attention and emotion is simply another feature of mind, albeit a philosophically interesting feature. The neurophysiological mechanisms underpinning consciousness are sketched out, using visual awareness as an example. The case is made for the hypothesis that consciousness is not a global property of the brain but a result of local and discrete structural and neurophysiological processes. Blind sight and prosopagnosia are used to exemplify this case. The thesis argues that the self includes aspects which are derivable from human culture but that these aspects are predicated upon particular physical brain structures. In the second section of the thesis, three psychiatric syndromes, namely autism, multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia are examined. Autism is described as resulting from a failure of theory of mind. It is argued that this account of autism, although incomplete in detail, supports the claim that mind is a conceptual artefact, that is that it is a theory which we use to explain human behaviour. The nature of multiple personality disorder is explored and it is concluded that multiple personality disorder is not a naturally occurring example of Parfit's theory of Personal Identity. Finally, schizophrenia, the paradigmatic psychiatric disorder is examined. The claim is that schizophrenia is a condition in which several aspects of the self are severely compromised. The capacity to experience the world accurately, to make judgements and to communicate these judgements are all affected. It is argued that these impairments in the functioning of the self have demonstrable neural correlates and that this confirms the thesis of the materiality of the self.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available