Body Am I – the new science of self-consciousness

P D Smith in Guardian:

Moheb Costandi’s title is taken from Nietzsche’s philosophical masterpiece Thus Spoke Zarathustra: “The awakened and knowing say: body am I entirely, and nothing more; and soul is only the name for something about the body.” The radical rejection of mind-body dualism expressed in this sentence is shared today by most neuroscientists, who believe that the mind is a product of the brain. Indeed, this “neurocentric” view has been widely accepted and, writes Costandi, “the idea that we are our brains is now firmly established”.

Yet this has given rise to a new dualism, one in which the body and the brain are seen as separate entities. This is what Costandi – a science writer who trained as a neuroscientist – seeks to correct in his illuminating and detailed investigation into how our understanding of the brain and its role in shaping our sense of self has evolved across the last 200 years, and what today’s research in neuroscience, psychiatry and psychology tells us about the relationship between brain and body. He writes: “The brain does not exist in isolation; it is one part of a complex and dynamic system that also includes the body and the environment.”

More here.