Phantom Sensations: What's a Brain to Do? A Critical Review of the Re-mapping Hypothesis

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I will review the most widely held account of phantom sensations; the “re-mapping hypothesis.” According to the re-mapping hypothesis, amputation is followed by significant neural reorganization that, over time, restores the alignment between the brain’s representation of and the actual condition of the body. Implicit in the re-mapping hypothesis is the view that the brain’s primary function is to accurately represent the body. In response, I propose an alternative theory, the “preservation hypothesis.” The preservation hypothesis argues that the primary function of the brain is to preserve the entirety of the brain’s structures and functional capacities. While these issues concern empirical matters, assessing our views on the subject discloses deeply held assumptions regarding the brain’s primary function; does the brain operate to provide an accurate representation of the body? Or, does the brain operate solely to preserve its structures and functional capacities in their entirety?
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Archival date: 2018-02-04
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