Self-Consciousness and Split Brains
The Mind's I
Oxford University Press 2018
Human brains have two hemispheres whose major connection is the corpus callosum, which enables information to be shared between the hemispheres. Split-brain subjects are people whose corpus callosum has been surgically cut to alleviate epilepsy. This and other similar operations or conditions yield an odd phenomenon in which the patient appears to be two agents: for example, in controlled experiments they may only be conscious of stimuli shown to just their right eye, but when asked to draw the stimulus with the left hand they draw the stimulus shown to just their left eye. It is as if each hemisphere is its own self, with its own eye. In Self-Consciousness and Split Brains: The Mind’s I (Oxford University Press, 2018), Elizabeth Schechter argues that while split brain subjects have two minds and two subjective perspectives, and are two intentional agents, they nevertheless constitute one person. Schechter, who is an assistant professor of philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis, offers an in-depth exploration of the neuroscience and psychology of split brains and their implications for our understanding of minds, selves, agents and persons.