Volume 3 - Brain, mind and language: The mystery of the unity of the self
With this new issue we reach the third volume of Euresis Journal, an editorial adventure started one year ago with the scope of opening up a novel space of debate and encounter within the scientific and academic community. From the very beginning, our goals were to propose to a wider public the experience of dialogue we lived in a series of Symposia organized by the Euresis Association in San Marino since 2006. The present volume is dedicated to the proceedings of the San Marino 2011 Symposium, centered around the exciting theme of "Brain, mind and language: The mystery of the unity of the self". Read More
It is uncommon that a group of renowned scientists and scholars meet up to discuss, not only about the specific technical issues of their disciplines, but also to reflect upon their personal experience of research and the influence that their own discoveries and scientific questionings have on the way they see the world. Of course, this personal dimension of the scientist's experience is one we all share, but it is seldom that we find it expressed and debated with such degree of reflection and seriousness, as has been always witnessed at the San Marino Symposia. Another aspect of richness of these meetings is their interdisciplinary character, meant to follow the universality of the human experience in front of the most pressing questions one can face in scientific and humanistic research.
In the 2011 Symposium the theme of debate was the blossoming discipline of <em>neuroscience</em>. More specifically, the complex and little-understood interplay between the brain, the mind and the fundamental functions of consciousness and language. The scientists present at San Marino were invited to reflect upon the results of their own research, and to confront it with the ultimate experience of <em>unity</em> among these concepts that define human beings and characterizes their elementary, albeit mysterious, perception of the self.
How is neuroscience contributing, or how can it contribute, to our understanding of these core aspects of human nature? In this volume we are proposing some of the contributions presented at San Marino, which approach this question from multiple angles. Neuroscience is progressively identifying, through the objective approach of the scientific method, the complex networks underlying sensorial, emotional and cognitive functions. But as a discipline, it finds itself in a special position, as all these are capabilities to which we have first-hand access by subjective experience. Neuroscience is not only a fascinating and complex field, but a paradigmatic point of encounter and debate for modern science, with implications to our large conception of what is knowledge, what is the place of science in society, and what is the place of the person in the conception of the world that science helps to build in our days.
We hope that the rich and inspired contributions presented in this volume might not only be an enjoyable experience for the reader, but the starting point for a dialogue, and for our own personal journey into these fundamental questions. Once again, enjoy the reading!
The whole volume or separate articles are available
Tommaso Bellini, Dept. of Medical Biotechnology, University of Milan
Marco Bersanelli, Dept. of Physics, University of Milan
Brain, mind and language: The mystery of the unity of the self
Mauro Ceroni, Faustino Savoldi, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Pavia
Understanding consciousness: need for a sound and reasonable starting point
John T. Cacioppo, Gary G. Berntson, Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, University of Chicago
Is consciousness epiphenomenal? Social neuroscience and the case for interacting brains
COVER IMAGE Magnetic resonance image of the human brain showing colour-coded regions activated by smell stimulus.