The meaning of neural activity

“The meaning off neural activity lies outside the brain…brain activity can be understood, that is, has meaning only to the extent that it is a representation of the state of the body, of the external world, or of a potential behaviour. Just as it would be pointless to analyse a book by investigating the chemical composition of paper and ink, a reductionist analysis of brain activity, that is, taking it apart and analysing its nucleic acids, enzymes, receptors, and ion channels, fails to explain what brain activity accomplishes”

Howard Fields, quote in The Story of Pain, Joanna Bourke