neurogeeking

yeah, more philosophy class babbling.

We had a paper due last week in my philosophy class on Descartes’ theory that animals and humans differ because humans are capable of reason because humans have a ~soul~.  And well, humans are capable of reason. 

But it’s to do with (quoting my own paper, now) “a complicated network of interrelated pathways in the brain and the body.  As [Antonio Damasio] says [in his book Descartes’ Error], ‘we were born with the neural machinery in response to certain classes of stimuli’ (Damasio 177).  Throughout his work, he has proven that processes of rationality, reason, and even emotion are best ascribed to the human brain, to some extent biological processes, and nothing else.”

Aside from underlining words throughout the paper like “neurobiological” and “[our] own minds,” as well as in the above quotation where it says “proven” (underlined and with a “hmm…” written underneath) the only thing he wrote on the entire paper was, next to my final paragraph, “ultimately, it’s a brain difference?”

YES YOU SIMPLETON.  THERE IS FAR MORE PROOF OF NEUROSCIENTIFIC CAUSES OF BEHAVIOR THAN THERE IS OF THE “SOUL” CAUSING BEHAVIOR. 

But I still got an A.  (And mind you, the neuroscience book I cited throughout was something extracurricular, picked up by my own self just for fun, because neuroscience is epic.  Outside sources were not required.)

“Linguists document the remarkable diversity of means of expression employed in the languages of the world. At the same time, though, researchers have come to understand that many of the features of language are universal, both because there are universal aspects to human experience and because language has a built-in biological basis. This latter subject belongs to the subfield called neurolinguistics, which studies how language is realized in the human brain.

Whoops.  I think I might have a new potential academic obsession.

My philosophy professor:
“We believe in love… people say ‘I love you,’ not 'neurons and synapses are firing in my brain.'  Because that would be sad.”

Me:
A) Sad?  Are you kidding?  That would be amazingly sexy whispered in my ear.
B) Actually, the brain’s reaction to a feeling of love is a combination of chemicals, oxytocin and seratonin and dopamine and testosterone and estrogen and vasopressin and norepeniphrine.  Yes, neurotransmitters are somewhat involved, but it’s largely chemical.
C) But that list of chemicals would also make for sexy bedroom talk. 
D) Yes, I had to verify all of this via Google after class (largely recalling the particular chemicals).  Immediately. 
E) I couldn’t really expect my professor to know this, though; he owned to the fact, maybe three sentences later, that he hadn’t studied “brain science” in years.  Brain science.  Really?  You just said neurons mister.  You should know neuroscience. 
F) The word, not the discipline.  (Although even I know enough to know what he said was largely erroneous.)
G) And anyway, the way he said “that would be sad” implies that he’s judging those of us who find lists of technical facts charming or sexy, and that we’re sad people.  We’re not, I swear.
H) I continue to be proud of myself for not standing up and bitchplease-ing him when he says things like this.
I) Holy Christ, did I really have nine different things to say about this?