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The Mind Brain Problem

One of the most profound questions facing science today is understanding the nature of consciousness and the mind, as well as their relationship with the brain. The basic scientific problem, is simple to describe but difficult to answer: How does our sense of self-awareness together with all our subjective thoughts, feelings, and emotions arise from the brain?

Traditionally, in philosophical circles this has been referred to as the mind-body problem, and while many well-known philosophers such as Plato and Descartes have argued that the mind and brain are separate entities, many modern scientists have proposed that the mind is a product of brain activity. However, despite obvious interest, no testable, plausible biological mechanism to account for how the brain may give rise to the mind or consciousness has been proposed.

Thankfully, despite many difficulties, there has been a definite move by the scientific community to try and address this problem. Although, a number of theories have been proposed, however progress has been hampered by a lack of experimental models to test such theories. The study of the human mind and consciousness during cardiac arrest is a novel and innovative method that has arisen in the last few years for testing any theory of consciousness. In this section, some of the major theories for the causation of consciousness are discussed, together with experimental evidence obtained from studies of the human mind during cardiac arrest and their potential role in finally answering the ancient question of the self and understanding the nature of consciousness.

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