Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Science, brain, mind & metaphysics

I'm reading a book that argues aggressively against the validity of the field of neurophilosophy. Excerpts from the introduction:

"The name 'neurophilosophy' itself, and the hyphenated expression 'mind/brain', are both part of the propaganda, intended to suggest the closest, intimate connection between neuroscience and philosophy....

"It is not physiology which drives this philosophical orthodoxy, but metaphysics, the idea that the findings of the sciences are now providing answers to the questions raised by metaphysics, providing a definitive statement as to what there really (ultimately) is....

"Opposition to the idea that science can be the fulfillment of metaphysics does not involve in any way opposition to science. If the objectives of metaphysics are spurious, then they cannot be fulfilled by science any more than they can be by metaphysics. The error which promotes the orthodoxy is, in an important respect, very simple and basic: it is to suppose that 'what anything is' is identical (in the very strongest sense) with 'what it is made of'."

- from Brain, Mind, and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive Science: Critical Assessments of the Philosophy of Psychology (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007) by Jeff Coulter of Boston University and Wes Sharrock of the University of Manchester

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