Self-Consciousness and "Split" Brains: The Minds' I

ISBN : 9780198809654

Elizabeth Schechter
352 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
May 2018
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Could a single human being ever have multiple conscious minds? Some human beings do. The corpus callosum is a large pathway connecting the two hemispheres of the brain. In the second half of the twentieth century a number of people had this pathway cut through as a treatment for epilepsy. They became colloquially known as split-brain subjects. After the two hemispheres of the brain are cortically separated in this way, they begin to operate unusually independently of each other in the realm of thought, action, and conscious experience, almost as if each hemisphere now had a mind of its own. Elizabeth Schechter argues that there are in fact two minds, subjects of experience, and intentional agents inside each split-brain human being: right and left. On the other hand, each split-brain subject is nonetheless one of us. The key to reconciling these two claims is to understand the ways in which each of us is transformed by self-consciousness.


1 The Unity Puzzle
2 Subjects of Experience and Subjective Perspectives
3 Dual Intentional Agency
4 How Many Minds?
5 Objection from Sub-Cortical Structures
6 Bodies and Being One
7 Self and Other in the Split-Brain Subject
8 Self and Other in the Split-brain Subject
9 Duality Myths

About the author: 

Elizabeth Schechter is an assistant professor of philosophy and a member of the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology Program at Washington University in St. Louis.

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