Our Brains, Our Selves
Feinberg (Todd)
Source: Daedalus, Vol. 135, No. 4, On Identity (Fall, 2006), pp. 72-80
Paper - Abstract

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Author’s Introduction

  1. For the past twenty years, my colleagues and I have studied patients with acquired brain damage who have under gone a transformation in the most inti mate aspects of their personal identities. I call these conditions neurological perturbations of the self.
  2. We study these cases to discover, among other things, the neurological structures necessary for a self, and the manner in which these structures are wired together to create a unified human mind. To that end, our analysis of these patients focuses on how the self, the ego, one's personal identity, adapts in response to damage to critical neuro logical structures.
  3. In these cases, I rely in large measure upon the patients' verbal descriptions of how they view themselves after a neurological injury. Although these narratives are acquired within a medical con text, and the patients are expressing what they believe to be the truth in the context of a medical or neurological exam, my analysis of their reports more closely resembles a psychoanalyst's reading of a patient's dream, or a reader's interpretation of a movie or novel. I take this approach because, while these patients are communicating what they believe are the actual facts of their circumstances, I actually find most intriguing what the patients reveal about those aspects of their self-concepts and motivations of which they are unaware.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)

  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2018
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)



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