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Daniel Wolpert TED talk: Why we have brains

  1. Nov 25, 2011 #1


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    Interesting points about the functional purpose of the brain by Daniel Wolpert. He claims the sole purpose of the brain is movement and goes on to speak about the brain as a bayesian inference machine (a productive trend in neuroscience lately).

  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 28, 2011 #2
    I find this really interesting if approached from the perspective of brain death. All the clinical tests for brain death we currently use are purely movement based. Lack of spontaneous respiration's (chest wall/diaphragmatic movement), lack of response to pain, lack of brain based reflexes. In other words, we define death as the inability of your brain to form a response to different external stimuli. All your organs could be working, but if your brain is unable to make you move (interact with the world) we declare you brain dead (which is the same as legally dead in many states in the US). Note that nowhere in the definition of brain death is the inability to think or feel. We just have no way (or very primitive and unrealizable ways) or testing for actual thoughts or feelings in other people without visual external stimuli. You could have the most intricate thought process, most beautiful feelings... Be able to compose a symphony or come up with the cure for the common cold. If you cannot interact with the world to let everyone else know, you serve no evolutionary benefit to the race of humans. You are in fact brain dead. Legally dead. Machines come off, your heart stops, you are buried. Daniel Wolpert could be correct..
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