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a medical student is showing the crossing of the ophtalmic nerve on a human brain

An Oxford Neuroscientist Explains Mind vs. Brain

Sharon Dirckx explains the fallacies of materialism and the logical and scientific strengths of dualism

Sharon Dirckx, a senior tutor at the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA), offers a superb video based on her new book Am I Just My Brain?: Can neurons explain my belief in God?

Dr. Dirckx has a Ph.D. in brain imaging and is a Senior Tutor at the Oxford Centre of Christian Apologetics. In her talk, she gives a fascinating overview of neuroscience and the philosophy of mind in which she explains the fallacies of materialism and the logical and scientific strengths of dualism (mind is not merely brain). Highly recommended!

It’s good to see a growing response to the materialist superstition about the mind and the brain from the neuroscience and philosophy community. Materialist theories of the mind are philosophically indefensible and scientifically discredited. Dualism is necessary to account for the immaterial nature of the intellect, for the metaphysical simplicity of the mind, and for free will. Of the varieties of dualism, I believe that Thomistic dualism offers the most satisfactory framework for neuroscience.

I also think that Edward Feser ’s Philosophy of Mind, written from the Thomistic perspective on metaphysics and the mind, is the best available for readers of a philosophical bent. It is a fine accompaniment to Dr. Dirckx’s work!

More by neurosurgeon Michael Egnor on how the mind differs from the brain:

Science points to an immaterial mind. If one did not start with a materialist bias, materialism would not be invoked as an explanation for a whole range of experiments in neuroscience.


Neuroscientist Michael Graziano should meet the p-zombie. To understand consciousness, we need to establish what it is not before we create any more new theories.

Further reading on the abstract nature of thought:

A simple triangle can disprove materialism. Conventional descriptions of material processes do not help much when we are trying to account for abstract thought.


Four researchers whose work sheds light on the reality of the mind: the significance of Wilder Penfield, Roger Sperry Benjamin Libet, and Adrian Owen. The brain can be cut in half, but the intellect and will cannot, says Michael Egnor. The intellect and will are metaphysically simple.

Michael Egnor

Senior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial Intelligence
Michael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.

An Oxford Neuroscientist Explains Mind vs. Brain