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John Carew Eccles

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The more we discover scientifically about the brain the more clearly do we distinguish between the brain events and the mental phenomena and the more wonderful do the mental phenomena become. Promissory materialism is simply a superstition held by dogmatic materialists. It has all the features of a Messianic prophecy, with the promise of a future freed of all problems—a kind of Nirvana for our unfortunate successors.

 
John Carew Eccles

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In relating the circumstances which have led to my confinement within this refuge for the demented, I am aware that my present position will create a natural doubt of the authenticity of my narrative. It is an unfortunate fact that the bulk of humanity is too limited in its mental vision to weigh with patience and intelligence those isolated phenomena, seen and felt only by a psychologically sensitive few, which lie outside its common experience. Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism.

 
H. P. Lovecraft
 

Our psychology is ... a science of mere phenomena without any metaphysical implications. [It] Treats all metaphysical claims and assertions as mental phenomena, and regards them as statements about the mind and its structure.

 
Carl Jung
 

It is customary to define psychiatry as a medical specialty concerned with the study, diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses. This is a worthless and misleading definition. Mental illness is a myth. Psychiatrists are not concerned with mental illnesses and their treatments. In actual practice they deal with personal, social and ethical problems in living.
I have argued that, today, the notion of a person "having a mental illness" is scientifically crippling. It provides professional assent to a popular rationalization — namely that problems in living experienced and expressed in terms of so-called psychiatric symptoms are basically similar to bodily diseases.
Moreover, the concept of mental illness also undermines the principle of personal responsibility, the ground on which all free political institutions rest.

 
Thomas Szasz
 

As a brain researcher, I'd started out simply accepting the strictly objective principles of the behaviorist position. In the 1950s and early 1960s, all respectable neuroscientists thought in these terms. In those days, we wouldn't have been caught dead implying that consciousness or subjective experience can affect physical brain processing.
My first break with this thinking — although I certainly didn't see it that way at the time — came in a 1952 discussion of mind-brain theory in which I proposed a fundamentally new way of looking at consciousness. In it, I suggested that when we focus consciously on an object — and create a mental image for example — it's not because the brain pattern is a copy or neural representation of the perceived object, but because the brain experiences a special kind of interaction with that object, preparing the brain to deal with it.
I maintained that an identical feeling or thought on two separate occasions did not necessarily involve the identical nerve cells each time. Instead, it is the operational impact of the neural activity pattern as a whole that counts, and this depends on context — just as the word "lead" can mean different things, depending on the rest of the sentence.

 
Roger Wolcott Sperry
 

Bohr's investigation had typified what had become a standard procedure in problems of theoretical physics. The first step was to discover the mathematical laws governing certain groups of phenomena; the second was to devise hypothetical models or pictures to interpret these laws in terms of motion or mechanism; the third was to examine in what way these models would behave in other respects, and this would lead to prediction of other phenomena-predictions which might or might not be confirmed when put to the test of experiment. For instance, Newton had explained the phenomena of gravitation in terms of a force of gravitation; a later age had seen the luminiferous ether introduced to explain the propagation of light and, subsequently, the general phenomena of electricity and magnetism; finally Bohr had introduced electronic jumps in an attempt to explain atomic spectra. In each case the models had fulfilled their primary purpose, but had failed to predict further phenomena with accuracy.

 
James Jeans
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