How far is the mind a collection of quasi-independent perceptual minds integrated psychically in large measure by temporal concurrence of experience? … When it is a question of ‘mind’ the nervous system does not integrate itself by centralization upon a pontifical cell. Rather it elaborates a millionfold democracy whose each unit is a cell… the concrete life compounded of sublives reveals, although integrated, its additive nature and declares itself an affair of minute foci of life acting together… When however we turn to the mind there is nothing of all this. The single nerve-cell is never a miniature brain. The cellular constitution of the body need not be for any hint of it from ‘mind’… A single pontifical brain-cell could not assure to the mental reaction a character more unified, and non-atomic than does the roof-brain’s multitudinous sheet of cells. Matter and energy seem granular in structure, and so does ‘life,’ but not so mind.

Charles Scott Sherrington

Born: November 27, 1857

Died: March 4, 1952 (Age 94)

Charles Scott Sherrington was an English neurophysiologist, histologist, bacteriologist, and a pathologist, Nobel laureate and president of the Royal Society in the early 1920s. He received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian, in 1932 for their work on the functions of neurons. Prior to the work of Sherrington and Adrian, it was widely accepted that reflexes occurred as isolated activity within a reflex arc. Sherrington received the prize for showing that reflexes require integrated activation and demonstrated reciprocal innervation of muscles (Sherrington's law). Through his seminal 1906 publication, The Integrative Action of the Nervous System, he had effectively laid to rest the theory that the nervous system, including the brain, can be understood as a single interlinking network. His alternative explanation of synaptic communication between neurons helped shape our understanding of the central nervous system.

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