Quantum Metaphors and the Study of the Mind-Brain

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Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice


Although much of current neuroscience literature speaks of the mind-brain, most study of the mind-brain generally remains focused on either the mind (psychology, philosophy or sociology) or the brain (physiology). Neuroscientists continue to be hampered by Cartesian dualism and the divisions it creates. Even when we speak of the mind-brain, our attention tends to revert to either the mind or the brain. A similar problem faced physicists earlier this century during the rise of quantum mechanics. I believe that adopting metaphors from quantum physics can help us overcome the tendency to dichotomize our study of the mind-brain. In this paper, I explore some of these metaphors (such as the participant-observer and wave-particle unity) to help establish a set of sustainable metaphors within which we can unify our interpretations of the mind-brain.