The ‘Hard Problem’ and the Cartesian Strand in British Neurophysiology: Huxley, Foster, Sherrington, Eccles

  • C. U. M. SmithEmail author
Part of the History, Philosophy and Theory of the Life Sciences book series (HPTL, volume 6)


Charles Scott Sherrington’s thoughts on the so-called “hard problem”, the substance dualism of qualia and brain, are discussed in detail. Having inherited Thomas Henry Huxley’s and Michael Foster’s Cartesian approach to pre-modern neurophysiology, Sherrington was adamant that no investigation of the physiology of the brain, no matter how subtle it may be, will ever discover the ‘whisper of a thought or a feeling.’ Pre-figuring Chalmers’ ‘hard problem’, Sherrington said that the mental is not a form of energy; no analysis of the various forms of energy can take us across the gap that separates psychiatry from physiology.


Synaptic Vesicle Hard Problem Apical Dendrite Copenhagen Interpretation Plasmodium Malariae 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emeritus, Department of Vision SciencesAston UniversityBirminghamUK

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