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Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience / Edition 1

Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience / Edition 1

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In this provocative survey, a distinguished philosopher and a leading neuroscientist outline the conceptual problems at the heart of cognitive neuroscience.

  • Surveys the conceptual problems inherent in many neuroscientific theories.
  • Encourages neuroscientists to pay more attention to conceptual questions.
  • Provides conceptual maps for students and researchers in cognitive neuroscience and psychology.
  • Written by a distinguished philosopher and leading neuroscientist.
  • Avoids the use of philosophical jargon.
  • Constitutes an essential reference work for elucidation of concepts in cognitive neuroscience and psychology.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781405108386
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 03/15/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 789,831
Product dimensions: 6.70(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

M. R. Bennett AO is Professor of Physiology and University Chair at the University of Sydney. He is the author of many papers and books in neuroscience, including The Idea of Consciousness (1997) and A History of the Synapse (2001). He is President of the International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience, Past President of the Australian Neuroscience Society, and the recipient of numerous awards for his research in neuroscience, including the Neuroscience Medal, the Ramaciotti Medal and the Macfarlane Burnet Medal.

P. M. S. Hacker is a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. He is the author of numerous books and articles on philosophy of mind and philosophy of language, and the leading authority on the philosophy of Wittgenstein. Among his many publications is the monumental five-volume Analytical Commentary on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, and its epilogue Wittgenstein's Place in Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy, published by Blackwell (first two volumes co-authored with G. P. Baker).

Table of Contents


Part I: Philosophical Problems In Neuroscience: Their Historical and Conceptual Roots:.

1. The Early Growth Of Neuroscientific Knowledge: The Integrative Action Of The Nervous System.

Aristotle, Galen And Nemesius: The Origins Of The Ventricular Doctrine.

Fernel And Descartes: The Demise Of The Ventricular Doctrine.

The Cortical Doctrine Of Willis And Its Aftermath.

The Conception Of A Reflex: Bell, Magendie And Marshall Hall.

Localizing Function In The Cortex: Broca, Fritz And Hitzig.

The Integrative Action Of The Nervous System: Sherrington.

2. The Cortex And The Mind In The Work Of Sherrington And His Proteges.

Charles Sherrington: The Continuing Cartesian Impact.

Edgar Adrian: Hesitant Cartesianism.

John Eccles And The ‘Liaison Brain’.

Wilder Penfield And The ‘Highest Brain Mechanism’.

3. The Mereological Fallacy And Its Manifestation In Contemporary Neuroscientific Thought.

Mereological Confusions In Cognitive Neuroscience: (Crick, Edelman, Blakemore, Young, Frisby, Gregory, Marr, Johnson-Laird).

Methodological Qualms: (Ullman, P.S. Churchland, Blakemore, Zeki, Young, Milner Squire And Kandel, Marr, Frisby, Sperry).

On The Grounds For Ascribing Psychological Predicates To A Being: (Crick, Baars).

On The Grounds For Misascribing Psychological Predicates To An Inner Entity: (Damasio, Edelman And Tononi, Kosslyn And Ochsner, Searle, James, Libet, Humphrey, Blakemore, Crick).

The Inner: (Damasio).

Introspection: (Humphrey, Johnson-Laird, Weiskrantz).

Privileged Access: Direct And Indirect: (Blakemore).

Privacy Or Subjectivity: (Searle).

The Meaning Of Psychological Predicates And How They Are Learnt: (Searle).

Of The Mind And Its Nature: (Gazzaniga, Doty).

Part II: Human Faculties and Contemporary Neuroscience: an Analysis:.


Brain-Body Dualism: (Kandel Schwartz And Jessell, Libet).

The Project: (Gazzaniga).

The Category Of The Psychological: (Nagel, P.M. Churchland And P.S. Churchland).

4. Sensation and Perception.

Sensation: (Searle, Libet, Geldard And Sherrick).

Perception: (Ledoux, Crick).

Perception As The Causation Of Sensations: Primary And Secondary Qualities: (Kandel Schwartz And Jessell, Rock).

Perception As Hypothesis Formation: Helmholtz: (Helmholtz, Gregory, Glynn, Young).

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Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What are you, a ghost in a machine or a living human being? In this excellent book, the authors, a neuroscientist and a philosopher, answer the question. They say that Rene Descartes' ideas still cause many muddles. He thought that we were all ghosts in machines, two things in one. This was because he believed that there were two basic kinds of thing, mind and matter (a theory called dualism), and that what we are depends on what our minds do (idealism). The authors show that commonsense clears up the muddles. We are all living human beings. 'The person ... is a psychophysical entity, not a duality of two conjoined substances, a mind and a body.' The authors show that dualism - the ghost in the machine - can never explain how our minds relate to our bodies. Our minds are not things, so they cannot cause changes by acting on our brains. Often neuroscientists wrongly ascribe to our brains the activities that Descartes and his followers like John Locke ascribed to our minds. But human beings - not our brains or minds - think, see, decide and feel. 'The brain and its activities make it possible for us - not for it - to perceive and think, to feel emotions, and to form and pursue projects.' Too many neuroscientists trap themselves in idealism. For example, Francis Crick wrote, 'What we see appears to be located outside our body. ... What you see is not what is really there. ... In fact we have no direct knowledge of the objects in the world.' But the authors reply, 'What we see does not appear to be located outside us. What we see is necessarily located outside our body, unless we are looking at ourselves in a mirror, or at our limbs or thorax.' We see what is really there, the real world, and we directly know objects in the world, which exist whether we see them or not. This is materialism, which 'in its simplest and warranted form amounts to a denial that there are mental or spiritual substances.' Materialism does not mean that our minds are our brains. It does not mean that we explain things, even material things, by studying the matter of which they are made. Materialism does not reduce everything to physics, or reduce our minds to our nervous systems. Colin Blakemore was wrong to write, 'We are machines', Crick wrong to write, 'You ... are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules.' Our goals, motives and reasons - not our cells or molecules - explain our behaviour. The authors show that scientists and philosophers do two different, useful jobs. Scientists analyse what's true and what's false. They create theories to explain and hypotheses to predict. Philosophers analyse concepts and the rules for the use of words. They clarify what makes sense and what does not. And these authors have done this job superbly.