Introducing the brain: cerebellar contributions explored (Introduction)

by dhw, Monday, February 24, 2020, 12:49 (139 days ago) @ David Turell

QUOTE: The cerebellum is packed with small neurons and contains 3/4 of all brain neurons. It is known to contribute neuro-sensory controls to muscle activity and coordination. New findings still have not covered all its functions in relation to cognitive activity:
[Followed by a long list of functions]

DAVID: Still only partially understood. And points to how special we are, with its cognitive activities.

Not much room here for the dualist’s concept of a soul which is responsible for the creation of all our ideas.

QUOTE: "In considering the large size of the cerebellum in primates and humans, adaptive arguments have been put forward in the context of motor function leaning on the dexterous hands of primates and consequences of full bipedalism in humans or, in the context of cognitive function, the extraordinary mental abilities of apes and humans.”

I’m surprised that you haven’t commented on the author’s bracketing of apes and humans as having extraordinary mental abilities, so let me do it for you. I’d say our mental abilities far outstrip those of our fellow primates. If these coincide with differences in the cerebellum (or the cerebrum as a whole), the implication would be that our mental abilities depend on the materials of the brain. So much for dualism.

DAVID: The point is as we grew our big brain cerebrum the size of the cerebellum followed along in like fashion. The main point is that we are now finding it contributes to certain cognitive functions, the extent not fully understood as yet. Obviously our brain had to accommodate our dexterous hands and our bipedalism in concert with the developments.

Personally, I am extremely wary of restricting individual cognitive functions to individual parts of the brain. I suspect that if materialists are right, it is the interplay between different sections of the brain that produce all the cognitive functions. Indeed, the story of the woman with “half a brain” suggests that the whole community of brain cells cooperates in producing these functions. A dualist would presumably propose that there is an immaterial “soul” which directs the different sections of the brain.


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