The main objective of this essay is to validate some of the principal, currently competing, mammalian consciousness–brain theories by comparing these theories with data on both cognitive abilities and brain organization in birds. Our argument is that, given that multiple complex cognitive functions are correlated with presumed consciousness in mammals, this correlation holds for birds as well. Thus, the neuroanatomical features of the forebrain common to both birds and mammals may be those that are crucial to the generation of both (...) complex cognition and consciousness. The general conclusion is that most of the consciousness–brain theories appear to be valid for the avian brain. Even though some specific homologies are unresolved, most of the critical structures presumed necessary for consciousness in mammalian brains have clear homologues in avian brains. Furthermore, considering the fact that the reptile–bird brain transition shows more structural continuity than the stem amniote–mammalian transition, the line drawn at the origin of mammals for consciousness by several of the theorists seems questionable. An equally important point is that consciousness cannot be ruled out in the absence of complex cognition; it may in fact be the case that consciousness is a necessary prerequisite for complex cognition. (shrink)
Citation data have become an increasingly significant source of information for historians, sociologists, and other researchers studying the evolution of science. In the past few decades elaborate methodologies have been developed for the use of citation data in the study of the modern history of science. This article focuses on how citation indexes make it possible to trace the background and development of discoveries as well as to assess the credit that publishing scientists assign to particular discoverers. Kuhn's notion of (...) discovery is discussed. The priority dispute over the discovery of the AIDS virus is used as an example. (shrink)
It has been suggested that if the preservation and development of consciousness in the biological evolution is a result of natural selection, it is plausible that consciousness not only has been influenced by neural processes, but has had a survival value itself; and it could only have had this, if it had also been efficacious. This argument for mind-brain interaction is examined, both as the argument has been developed by William James and Karl Popper and as it has been discussed (...) by C.D. Broad. The problem of identifying mental phenomena with certain neural phenomena is also addressed. The main conclusion of the analysis is that an explanation of the evolution of consciousness in Darwinian terms of natural selection does not rule out that consciousness may have evolved as a mere causally inert effect of the evolution of the nervous system, or that mental phenomena are identical with certain neural phenomena. However, the interactionistic theory still seems, more plausible and more fruitful for other reasons brought up in the discussion. (shrink)
The survival and development of consciousness in biological evolution call for an explanation. An interactionistic mind-brain theory seems to have the greatest explanatory value in this context. An interpretation of an interactionistic hypothesis, recently proposed by Karl Popper, is discussed both theoretically and based on recent experimental data. In the interpretation, the distinction between the conscious mind and the brain is seen as a division into what is subjective and what is objective, and not as an ontological distinction between something (...) immaterial and something material. The interactionistic hypothesis is based on similarities between minds and physical forces. The conscious mind is understood to interact with randomly spontaneous spatio-temporal patterns of action potentials through an electromagnetic field. Consequences and suggestions for future studies are discussed. (shrink)
In this paper Popper formulates and discusses a new aspect of the theory of mind. This theory is partly based on his earlier developed interactionistic theory. It takes as its point of departure the observation that mind and physical forces have several properties in common, at least the following six: both are (i) located, (ii) unextended, (iii) incorporeal, (iv) capable of acting on bodies, (v) dependent upon body, (vi) capable of being influenced by bodies. Other properties such as intensity and (...) extension in time may be added. It is argued that a fuller understanding of the nature of forces is essential for the analysis of the mind-brain problem. The relative autonomy and indeterministic nature of mind is stressed. Indeterminism is treated in relation to a theorem of Hadamard. The computer theory of mind and the Turing test are criticized. Finally the evolution of mind is discussed. (shrink)
In this article a brief overview is given of the field of medical ethics in Sweden in recent years. The presentation concentrates on the occurrence of official ethical norms for physicians, current ethical committees, the educational situation, legislation in force, and some essential features of the ethical debate on a few central issues.
This article presents a brief general view of the recent literature and the scholarly activity in the field of philosophy of medicine in Scandinavia. The focus of attention is not on medical ethics, but on studies on topics like decision theory, medical classification, causality, causal explanations, concept formation, and on analyses of different ideals of medical science and clinical practice. A few principal works on medical ethics are mentioned by way of introduction and a brief account of a highly topical (...) debate on the legislation on artificial insemination in Sweden is given at the end. (shrink)