Brain-computer interfaces and dualism: a problem of brain, mind, and body

Joseph Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The brain–computer interface (BCI) has made remarkable progress in the bridging the divide between the brain and the external environment to assist persons with severe disabilities caused by brain impairments. There is also continuing philosophical interest in BCIs which emerges from thoughtful reflection on computers, machines, and artificial intelligence. This article seeks to apply BCI perspectives to examine, challenge, and work towards a possible resolution to a persistent problem in the mind–body relationship, namely dualism. The original humanitarian goals of BCIs and the technological inventiveness result in BCIs being surprisingly useful. We begin from the neurologically impaired person, the problems encountered, and some pioneering responses from computers and machines. Secondly, the interface of mind and brain is explored via two points of clarification: direct and indirect BCIs, and the nature of thoughts. Thirdly, dualism is beset by mind–body interaction difficulties and is further questioned by the phenomena of intentions, interactions, and technology. Fourthly, animal minds and robots are explored in BCI settings again with relevance for dualism. After a brief look at other BCIs, we conclude by outlining a future BCI philosophy of brain and mind, which might appear ominous and could be possible.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-40
Number of pages12
JournalAI and Society: the journal of human-centered systems and machine intelligence
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016


  • Brain
  • Brain–computer interface (BCI)
  • Dualism
  • Intentions
  • Interactions
  • Mind


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