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SPLIT BRAIN, SPLIT VIEWS

February 26, 2013

1) Given that the brain consists in a mass of connections, whose power depends on the number and complexity of those connections, why is it divided? Or is that just random, and we should give up trying to find a pattern which make sense in terms of evolutionary advantage? (Animal ethologists have already found that asymmetry is an evolutionary advantage, and some of the reasons why – I take those into account in the book.) 
2) Is it logical or just a prejudice to dismiss the idea that there are significant hemisphere differences? 
3) If it is logical, why? If it is not logical, should we not all be interested in what sort of difference this might be? 
4) If not, why not? If so, what sort of difference would he himself suggest? 
5) Failing any suggestion of his own, why is he opposed to others making suggestions? 
6) Since it is in the nature of a general question that the answer will be general, what sort of criticism is it that an answer that has been offered is general in nature (though highly specific in its unfolding of the many aspects of cerebral function involved, of the implications for the phenomenological world, and in the data that are adduced)? 
7) It is in the nature of generalisations that they are general. It is also almost always the case that there will be exceptions. Does that mean that no generalisations should ever be attempted for fear of being called generalisations or because there are exceptions? 
8) I have never tried to hide the difficulties surrounding generalisations. My book is replete with caveats, qualifications, and admonitions to the reader. Does either KM or Ray Tallis think they have said anything substantial by calling a generalisation ‘sweeping’? What kind of generalisation is not, other than one that is qualified?

Excerpt from a response from Kenan Malik to Iain McGilchrist. Read it HERE

Kenan Malik is an Indian-born English writer, lecturer and broadcaster, trained in neurobiology and the history of science.

Iain McGilchrist is a psychiatrist, doctor, writer, and former Oxford literary scholar. McGilchrist came to prominence after the publication of his book The Master and His Emissary, subtitled The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World.

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