By Magie W.F.
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But whichever it is, the eﬀects are the same. ’ Are there any therapeutic consequences of this way of seeing depression? ‘I have the controversial view that drugs aren’t the answer,’ Greenﬁeld replies. ‘As a short-term measure, if someone is in great physical or mental pain, it would be inhuman not to help them with drug therapy. But then all you’re doing is giving people chemical oblivion, you’re not solving the underlying problems. If you give someone Prozac, it’s not going to make any of the cognitive stuﬀ go away.
Well, I should say that I’m not sure that I’m the ﬁrst person to have said this kind of thing,’ she replies. ‘But I am the ﬁrst person to say it so emphatically. The fundamental thing, and where people have had the stumbling block, is the idea that consciousness is not all or nothing. Once you begin to think about this, you realise that it actually solves lots of problems. It gets around the diﬃculties of thinking about foetal consciousness, animal consciousness, and intuitively it seems to make sense that consciousness varies in degree in line with our physiologies.
For example, the faculty of intuitive psychology is selectively impaired in autistic people. A person with autism will fail a false belief test; that is, they won’t make correct predictions about a person who has a belief about the world that diﬀers from their own. However, they pass a false photograph test; that is, they will know that a photograph can have a depiction of reality that is diﬀerent from their current knowledge. The formal similarity of these tasks suggests that there is a selective deﬁcit in the ability to conceptualise the content of another person’s mind.
A source book in physics by Magie W.F.
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