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Self-Consciousness and "Split" BrainsThe Minds' I$
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Elizabeth Schechter

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198809654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198809654.001.0001

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Duality Myths

Duality Myths

Chapter:
(p.211) 9 Duality Myths
Source:
Self-Consciousness and "Split" Brains
Author(s):

Elizabeth Schechter

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198809654.003.0009

This chapter addresses the intuitive fascination of the split-brain phenomenon. According to what I call the standard explanation, it is because we ordinarily assume that people are psychologically unified, while split-brain subjects are not psychologically unified, which suggests that we might not be unified either. I offer a different interpretation. One natural way of grappling with people’s failures to conform to various assumptions we make about them is to conceptualize them as having multiple minds. Such multiple-minds models take their most dramatic form in narrative art as duality myths. The split-brain cases grip people in part because the subjects strike them as living embodiments of such myths.

Keywords:   commonsense psychology, science, popular culture, split-brain, psychological expectations

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