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Anatomy and physiology of intentionality

In this video, Mark Solms explains the anatomy and physiology of intentionality from a neuroscientific point of view.

Intentionality, from a neuroscience perspective, works through the reticular activating system in the upper brain stem. Remember that this is the level of the brain that generates consciousness. It is precisely because consciousness feels like something, that emotions are generated.

The limbic circuits connect the upper brain stem with the forebrain. These are the circuits for doing something in the outside world about these feelings. The ‘SEEKING’ or ‘wanting’ system is the foremost among these circuits. The chemical or neurotransmitter dopamine activates this system, anatomically known as the mesocortical/mesolimbic dopamine system.

This motivated seeking doesn’t have to be concrete physical action in the outside world. In humans, seeking may manifest in eye movements, dreaming, virtual seeking, searching of memory traces and trying to make meaning. The important thing about the SEEKING system is that by engaging with the outside world, you learn from experience. This is why intentionality is fundamental to mental life.

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What is a Mind?

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