You ≠ Your Brain

Descartes' dualism argued that the mind was entirely distinct from the body. More recently, the computational theory of the mind said it was a rational computer. Neither is accurate. 

What's the Latest Development?


Scientists and philosophers alike have begun to realize that our theories of the mind fail to account for how we talk about the world. The metaphors we use to describe our surroundings do not come from a purely mathematical or rational dissection of phenomena. Rather, the way we experience the world informs how we think about it. From an early age, for example, we associate warmth with security—the warmth of mother, warm milk, a warm blanket, etc.—so we describe things we trust as being warm, e.g. "I'm beginning to warm to him".

What's the Big Idea?

Descartes' dualism fell recently to the computational theory of the mind which viewed the brain as a rational calculating machine. It owed much of its impact to our understanding of computers and how our mind seemed to order the world by a similar process. But more and more we realize that personal experiences, shared across communities, also influence how we view and describe the world. For example, participants in scientific studies often lean forward when they think of the future, thus we associate the future with something 'forward'.

The 4 types of thinking talents: Analytic, procedural, relational and innovative

Understanding thinking talents in yourself and others can build strong teams and help avoid burnout.

Big Think Edge
  • Learn to collaborate within a team and identify "thinking talent" surpluses – and shortages.
  • Angie McArthur teaches intelligent collaboration for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Do you have a self-actualized personality? Maslow revisited

Rediscovering the principles of self-actualisation might be just the tonic that the modern world is crying out for.

Personal Growth

Abraham Maslow was the 20th-century American psychologist best-known for explaining motivation through his hierarchy of needs, which he represented in a pyramid. At the base, our physiological needs include food, water, warmth and rest.

Keep reading Show less

Brazilian scientists produce mini-brains with eyes

Using a new process, a mini-brain develops retinal cells.

Surprising Science
  • Mini-brains, or "neural organoids," are at the cutting edge of medical research.
  • This is the first one that's started developing eyes.
  • Stem cells are key to the growing of organoids of various body parts.
Keep reading Show less

Believe in soulmates? You're more likely to 'ghost' romantic partners.

Does believing in true love make people act like jerks?

Thought Catalog via Unsplash
Sex & Relationships
  • Ghosting, or cutting off all contact suddenly with a romantic partner, is not nice.
  • Growth-oriented people (who think relationships are made, not born) do not appreciate it.
  • Destiny-oriented people (who believe in soulmates) are more likely to be okay with ghosting.
Keep reading Show less