The Uncanniness of Mental Organs: Somaesthetics and the Brain

Уэсли Уолкер Тримбл

Research output


The storm cloud of some 10,000 academic articles based on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) observations of the brain has done little to clear the ‘problem’ that binds mind and body. This paper will attempt to add two more phenomena whose omission from the debate clouds progress: the uncanniness that erupts when a physical organ is viewed as a mental one and the strange nature of metaphors or ‘representations’ drawn from positivist science when they are applied to biological processes. I argue that these sets of aporias oscillate mutually and internally in a fashion that can only be approached from the aesthetics of embodied reasoning. Drawing on the work of Searle, Lakoff, Chalmers and Damasio, this is an effort that recognizes the weaknesses of scientific discourse not to blithely dismiss but to engage and inform. Special attention shall be paid to the uncanniness of the mental organ from the perspective of the neurosurgeon engaged in his healing arts and cognitive scientists engaged at their desks. Finally, we will examine two ‘scientific’ metaphors or similes that are often applied to body and mind: phase transitions and catastrophe theory and how their uncanny oscillations can be addressed by an ancient theory of cognition that needs to be revived. This work shall engage sources from aesthetics, neuroscience and ethics as well as philosophies of mind, science and language
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
Publication statusUnpublished - 16 May 2018
EventSomaesthetics: Between the Human Body and Beyond - University of Szeged, Szeged
Duration: 16 May 201818 May 2018



Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)

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