The Theory of Brain-Sign: A Physical Alternative to Consciousness

Clapson, Philip (2006) The Theory of Brain-Sign: A Physical Alternative to Consciousness. [Preprint]


There is a more recent version of this eprint available. Click here to view it.

Full text available as:



Consciousness and the mind are prescientific concepts that begin with Greek theorizing. They suppose human rationality and reasoning placed in the human head by God, who structured the universe he created with the same kind of underlying characteristics. Descartes’ development of the model included scientific objectivity by placing the mind outside the physical universe. In its failure under evidential scrutiny and without physical explanation, this model is destined for terminal decline. Instead, a genuine biological and physical function for the brain phenomenon can be developed. This is the theory of brain-sign. It accepts the causality of the brain as its physical characteristics, already under scientific scrutiny. What is needed is a new neurophysiological language that specifies the relation of the structure and operation of the brain to organismic action in the world. Still what is lacking is an account of how neurophysiologies in different organisms communicate on unpredictable dynamic tasks. It is this evolved capacity that has emerged as brain-sign. Thus rather than mentality being an inner epistemological parallel world suddenly appearing in the head, brain-sign, as the neural sign of the causal status of the brain capable of being held adequately in common, facilitates the communicative medium of otherwise isolated organisms. The biogenesis of the phenomenon thus emerges directly from the account of the physical brain, and functions as a monistic feature of organisms in the physical world. This new paradigm offers disciplinary compatibility, and genuine development in behavioral and brain sciences.

Item Type:Preprint
Keywords:Consciousness, Eliminativism, Neurophysiological Function, Neural Causality, Organismic Communication, Brain-to-Brain Communication, Organismic Interpretation, Cultural Programming
Subjects:Philosophy > Philosophy of Mind
Neuroscience > Behavioral Neuroscience
Biology > Theoretical Biology
ID Code:5284
Deposited By:Clapson, Philip
Deposited On:08 Dec 2006
Last Modified:11 Mar 2011 08:56

Available Versions of this Item

References in Article

Select the SEEK icon to attempt to find the referenced article. If it does not appear to be in cogprints you will be forwarded to the paracite service. Poorly formated references will probably not work.

Bear, M.F., Connors, B.W., Paradiso, M.A. (2001) Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, second edition, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.

Beaumont, J.G. (1999) Neuropsychology entry, in The Blackwell Dictionary of Neuropsychology, J.G. Beaumont, P.M. Knealy, M.J.C. Rogers eds., Blackwell.

Block, N. (1995) On a confusion about a function of consciousness, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 18:2, 227-287.

Block, N. (2001) Paradox and cross purposes in recent work on consciousness, Cognition 79, 1&2, 197-219, volume published as The Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness, N. Dehaene ed., MIT 2001.

Chalmers, D. (1996) The Conscious Mind, Oxford University Press.

Chomsky, N. (1959) Review of Skinner’s Verbal Behavior, Language, 35, 26-58.

Chomsky, N. (2003) Reply to Lycan, as Lycan (2003), 255-263

Churchland, P.M. (1995) The Engine of Reason: The Seat of the Soul, MIT Press.

Churchland, P.S. (2002) Brain-Wise: Studies in Neurophilosophy, A Bradford Book, MIT Press.

Clark, A. & Prinz, J. (2004) Putting Concepts to Work: Some Thoughts for the TwentyFirst Century, Mind and Language, 19:1, 57-69

Cummins, R. (1989) Meaning and Mental Representation, MIT Press.

Damasio, A. (2000) The Feeling of What Happens: Body, Emotion and the Making of Consciousness, William Heinemann.

Davidson, D. (1970) Mental Events, in Experience and Theory, L. Foster, J.W. Swanson eds., University of Massachusetts Press, 79-101.

Dawkins, R. (1976) The Selfish Gene, Oxford University Press.

Dehaene, S. & Naccache, L. (2001) Towards a cognitive neuroscience of consciousness: basic evidence and a workspace framework, Cognition 79, 1&2, 1-37, published as Block (2001).

Dennett, D. (1991a) Consciousness Explained, Little Brown.

Dennett, D. (1991b) Real Patterns, Journal of Philosophy, 89, 27-51.

Dennett, D. (1994) Dennett entry, in A Companion to the Philosophy of Mind, ed. S. Guttenplan, Blackwell, 236-244.

Dennett, D. (1996) Kinds of Minds, Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

Dennett, D. (2004) Calling in the Cartesian loans, comment on Wegner, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27:5, 661.

Edelman, G.M. & Tononi, G. (2000) Consciousness: How matter becomes imagination, Allen Lane.

Erneling, C. E. & Johnson, D.M. eds. (2005) The Mind as Scientific Object, Oxford University Press.

Gazzaniga, M.S. (2005) The Ethical Brain, Dana Press.

Giere, R.N. (2000) Theories, in A Companion to the Philosophy of Science, W.H. Newton-Smith ed., Blackwell, 515-527.

Gray, J. (2004) Consciousness: Creeping up on the hard problem, Oxford University Press.

Hebb, D. (1949) The Organisation of Behaviour: A Neuropsychological Theory, Wiley.

Heidegger, M. (1927) Being and Time, trans. J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson (1962), Basil Blackwell.

Heidegger, M. (1975) Early Greek Thinking, trans. D.F. Krell & F.A. Capuzzi, Harper and Row.

Johnson, D.M. (2005) Introduction to The Mind as Scientific Object, in Erneling & Johnson eds. (2005), 3-11.

Kant, I. (1781,1787) Critique of Pure Reason, trans. N.K. Smith (1929), Macmillan.

Kim, J. (2003) Blocking Causal Drainage and Other Maintenance Chores with Mental Causation, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, LXVII, 151-176.

Kim, J. (2005) Physicalism, or Something Near Enough, Princeton University Press.

Kirk, G.S., Raven, J.E., Schofield, M. (1983) The Presocratic Philosophers, second edition, Cambridge University Press.

Koch, C. (2004) The Quest for Consciousness, Roberts & Company.

Kuhn, T.S. (1962) The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, University of Chicago Press.

Libet, B., Curtis, A.G., Wright, E.W., Pearl, D.K. (1983) Time of conscious intention to act in relation to onset of neural activity (readiness potential). The unconscious initiation of a freely voluntary act, Brain 106, pp 623-642.

Lycan, W.G. (2003) Chomsky on the Mind-Body Problem, in Chomsky and his Critics, L.M. Antony & N. Hornstein eds., Blackwell, 11-28.

Milner, A. & Goodale, M. (1995) The Visual Brain in Action, Oxford University Press.

Neville, H.J., Bavelier, D., Corina, D., Rauschecker J., Karni, A., Lalwani, A., Braun, A., Clark, V., Jezzard, P., Turner, R. (1998) Cerebral organization for language in deaf and hearing subjects: biological constraints and effects of experience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 95, 022-929.

Noë, A. (2005) Action in Perception, Bradford Books, MIT Press.

O’Regan, J.K. & Noë, A. (2001) A sensorimotor account of vision and visual consciousness, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24:5, 939-1031.

Papineau, D. (2003) Theories of Consciousness, in Consciousness: New philosophical perspectives, Q. Smith & A. Jokic eds., Clarendon Press Oxford, 353-383

Penfield, W. (1958) The Excitable Cortex in Man, Liverpool University Press

Peschl, M.F. (1999) The development of scientific concepts and their embodiment in the representational activities of cognitive systems, in The Nature of Concepts Evolution, structure and representation, P. van Looke ed., Routledge, 184-214.

Rendell, L. & Whitehead, H. (2001) Culture in whales and dolphins, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 24:2, 309-382.

Rizzolatti, G., Fadiga, L., Fogassi, L. (1996) Premotor cortex and the recognition of actions, Cognitive Brain Research, 3, 131-141.

Ross, D., Spurrett, D. (2004) What to say to a skeptical metaphysician: A defense manual for cognitive and behavioral scientists, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27:5, 603-647.

Sartre, J.-P. (1943) Being and Nothingness, trans. H.E. Barnes (1958), Routledge.

Seager, W. (1999) Theories of Consciousness, Routledge.

Sterelney, K. (2003) Thought in a Hostile World: The Evolution of Cognition, Blackwell.

Stent, G.S. (2005) Epistemic Dualism, in Erneling & Johnson eds. (2005), 144-164.

Wall, P. (1999) Pain: The science of suffering, Wiedenfeld and Nicholson.

Watson, G. (1995) Free Will, in A Companion to Metaphysics, J. Kim & E. Sosa eds., Blackwell, 175-182.

Watson, G. ed. (2003) Free Will, second edition, Oxford University Press.

Wegner, D.M. (2002) The Illusion of Conscious Will, MIT Press.

Wegner, D.M. (2004) The illusion of conscious will, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27:5, 649-692.


Repository Staff Only: item control page