cognitive critique


Volume 8


  • Cortical plasticity related with chronic pain in a continuous interaction of neuronal and mental processes
  • 1
  • M. Fernández-Salazar
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    Chronic pain is one of the most difficult problems facing medicine and the neurosciences. Through the centuries, it has been a puzzle and still remains a challenge for research, given its complex nature. We can study it as a fluid system composed of interacting networks, the so-called “Pain Matrix”, bearing in mind that pain is the result of the continuous interaction of subsystems or networks. This assumes that major changes in the painful experience and cortical plasticity do not depend only on the action and interaction of dynamic brain networks but also on communication between the brain and external networks, such as socio-cultural factors modulating the perception of pain. The painful perception thus depends on a variety of external and internal influences independent of the nociceptive input.

    In this paper, I will explore the cortical mechanisms of physiological chronic pain as well as its cognitive and emotional components, pointing out that brain activity differs between acute and chronic pain and emphasizing the difference between pain and suffering. I contend that internal and external networks are interlinked, and I address the issue of chronic pain as a neuro-mental mechanism with neurobiological bases and as a subjective and qualitative mind experience, leading me to propose a new definition of chronic pain. Consequently, this paper is a discussion of the rationale and evidence for cortical reorganization as a consequence of chronic pain, and for the interaction between the neuronal and mental processes that modulate the aversive emotional component of chronic pain perception.


  • The design of the human being
  • 23
  • William l. Abler
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    Internal structures and processes in the design of a human being are hidden. We are thus presented with two mysteries. The first concerns the structures and processes themselves. The second concerns the mechanism that hides them, and the reason for hiding them. I propose here a complete, coherent theory of the human being under a fractal-cascade system. The fundamental mechanism of the human being consists of discrete symbols attached to the branches of a repeatedly bifurcating fractal tree. This mechanism alone is enough to generate the equation, and, when modified into an asymmetrical condition, the common sentence. Much of our subjective experience is a matter of internally generated categories acting as perceptual substitutes for physical events, as when sensations of color replace wavelengths of light in experience. Thus power-of-assertion is a perceptual replacement for the symmetry of the fundamental fractal, while sense-of-truth-and-falsity is a perceptual replacement for the symmetrical or asymmetrical relationship between the symbols attached to its two sides. Technology is a re-enactment, in physical terms, of the sentence — transforming one image into another. The use of the mind’s eye in technology is a mobilization of the physics and geometry represented by the equation. The human being emerged when the sentence invaded voluntary animal actions, transforming them into proxy sentences. Sense-of-purpose is a perceptual replacement for power-of-assertion in deliberate action; and sense-of-right-and-wrong is a replacement for sense-of-true-and-false. Through cascades of perceptual replacement, then, meaningful experience is generated, starting from the remote and abstract, but basic properties of symmetry and discreteness.


  • Pattern classification in psychiatric neuroimaging
  • Malin Björnsdotter
  • (in press)

  • Effects of yoga on cognition and mental health
  • Adele M. Inferrera
  • (in press)




Online ISSN: 1946-7060
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Updated October 5, 2015