Brainspotting - Part 1

This is a classic philosophical thought experiment: suppose you undergo an operation in which your brain is taken out of your skull and put into a vat. Like the wireless mouse of your computer, this brain can be wirelessly connected to your body, so there would still be a physical connection between the two, and no functions would be altered, except for your knowledge that the brain no longer resides in its usual abode. Now ask yourself the following question: where are you? Are you the brain in the vat, controlling the body on the outside, or are you the body on the outside, looking at the brain inside the vat? Think about it...

In the following documentary, which can serve as a great introduction to the problems in the philosophy of mind, British actor Ken Campbell will take you on a personal journey of reflection to try to understand whether there is such a thing as a self and why there is such a thing as consciousness at all. Why should consciousness have evolved? Why couldn't animals and people simply behave as though they were conscious, without actually having to be conscious? How does matter produce subjective experiences? What is the what-it's-likeness of what it's like to be another subjective being? This is the mystery of mysteries, the holy grail of the intellectual world.

I'm not sure whether the video and sound quality were produced the way you perceive them in this playlist, but the remoteness conveys the feeling that the whole documentary is a kind of Cartesian dream... perhaps the perfect medium for such a meditation. Among those interviewed in a series of fascinating discussions are biologist Richard Dawkins, neuroscientist Susan Greenfield and philosopher Galen Strawson.


So where are you?

Check out the entire series of Brainspotting.
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