Patricia Churchland on "Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain"

June 30, 2013

Pioneering neurophilosopher Patricia Churchland talks with Steve Paulson about her book, "Touching a Nerve: The Self as Brain."



We enjoyed the interview with Prof. Churchland very much, but I was struck by her analogy of separating software and hardware on computers. Actually these also can be intertwined so that it is hard to know where the problem really is. A software error can uncover a hardware error that might go undetected with well-performing software.

I know of one case where this happened on a mainframe and it could have happened on my own laptop last month.

In the first case the computer kept crashing because of corrupted data. After many months I got the customer to give me the program that often was present during these crashes. In short, the program was writing outside its assigned memory and the computer's memory protection component was not functioning. See

The second incident involved my laptop's keyboard locking up. Geek Squad could find no problem. I then discovered that an Outlook database that had not been rebuilt in a long time might be the culprit. I rebuilt the database and the keyboard has been working fine since. See