AMC”s “The Walking Dead” is a post-apocalyptic television show based on an ongoing comic book series. Set in Atlanta, Georgia the plot follows a small group of people, led by police officer Rick Grimes, struggling to survive after a pandemic of an unknown disease causes people to turn into zombies. After infection, a person initially dies, but is then somehow revived back to “life.” These zombies, or “walkers” as they are deemed on the show, seemingly have no self-awareness, but are able to walk and respond to surrounding stimuli. Additionally, they have an unquenchable hunger for human flesh, which, when in large enough numbers, pose a great danger to those still living and unaffected by the disease. While the series explores
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The cerebellum, which was not mentioned in the show, is responsible for muscle coordination and balance. Knowing this it can be assumed that this part of the nervous system stayed active in those infected. Of course the difficult part to believe is that once the virus kills the brain and depletes it of oxygen leading to the person’s death, the virus somehow reactivates the brain stem. Furthermore, if they are able to be ambulatory and respond to external stimuli then as we learned most recently, they should still have working memory, which conflicts with the fact that the cerebrum is entirely nonworking. Regardless, Dr. Jenner’s quote leads to the discussion of a less biological and more psychological issue.
Is the mind separate from the body, or is the mind a product of the brain? The mind-body problem is one of the oldest issues in philosophy, which was originally the basis of psychology. The walkers present a great example in tackling such an open-ended question. Descartes’ theory of dualism believes that the mind and body are separate yet intertwined, that mental functions are separate from body functions. In a way this is true, but it is now accepted that psychologists view the brain and mind as being inseparable. Cognitive thought and all that ties in with it are nothing more than results of electrical and chemical signals working within the physical