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Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience

ISBN: 978-1-4051-0838-6
480 pages
April 2003, Wiley-Blackwell
Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (140510838X) cover image
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.
See More
Preface.

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:.

Preliminaries.

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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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).

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  • 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.
See More
“This remarkable book, the product of a collaboration between a philosopher and neuroscientist, shows that the claims made on behalf of cognitive science are ill-founded. The book will certainly arouse opposition... but if it causes controversy, it is controversy that is long overdue.” Sir Anthony Kenny, President of the British Academy, 1989–93 <!--end-->


“This book was simply waiting to be written.” Denis Noble, Oxford University


“Contemporary scientists and philosophers may not like Bennett and Hacker's conclusions, but they will hardly be able to ignore them. The work is a formidable achievement.” John Cottingham, Professor of Philosophy, Reading University


“Neuroscientists, psychologists and philosophers will be challenged – and educated – by this sustained and well-informed critique.” Paul Harris, Professor, Human Development and Psychology, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

"This book is a joy to read. It is the fruit of collaboration across disciplines and continents between a neurophysiologist and a philosopher. They have written a polemical work that is a model of clarity and directness. Distiniguished neurophysiologist M.R. Bennett of the University of Sydney, and eminent Oxford philosopher P.M.S. Hacker have produced that rarity of scholarship, a genuinely interdisciplinary work that succeeds. ... This is a wonderful book that will illuminate, provoke and delight professional scientists, philosophers and general readers alike." Australian Book Review

"Bennett and Hacker have identified [conceptual confusions] with clinical precision and relentless good sense.... rich with philosophical insights ... thoughtful and wonderfully useful treatise ..." Philosophy

"careful application in a host of cases ...is precisely what Bennett and Hacker provide in devastating critiques of psychologists and neuroscientists such as Blakemore, Crick, Damasio, Edelman, Gazzaniga, Kandel, Kosslyn, LeDoux, Penrose and Weiskrantz; and they also raise equally disturbing questions for philosophers such as Dennett, the Churchlands, Chalmers, Nagel and Searle. Whether this book leads to a reconfiguring of contemporary neuroscience and the philosophy associated with it will tell us much about the dynamics of contemporary intellectual life." Philosophy

"The vast spectrum of material in philosophy and neuroscience that Bennett and Hacker consider is impressive and their discussion is thorough and illuminating." Human Nature Review


1. ‘[It] will certainly, for a long time to come, be the most important contribution to the mind-body problem which there is.’ G. H. von Wright


2. ‘everyone who thinks about the mind and consciousness should study Philosophical Foundations of Neurtoscience. ... it will ultimately contribute to a far better understanding of mind and consciousness within scientific thought as well as a better understanding of the limits of empirical investigation’, Arthur Collins, The Philosophical Quarterly, 2004


3. ‘Sweeping, argumentative and brilliant, this book will provoke widespread discussion among philosophers and neuroscientists alike’, Dennis Patterson, Notre Dame Philosophical Review, 2003


4. ‘...devastating critiques of psychologists and neuroscientists ... Whether this book leads to a reconfiguring of contemporary neuroscience and the philosophy associated with it will tell us much about the dynamics of contemporary intellectual life’, Anthony O’Hear, Philosophy 2003


5. ‘This book is a joy to read. ... a model of clarity and directedness... [Bennett and Hacker] have produced that rarity of scholarship, a genuinely interdisciplinary work that succeeds. ... This is a wonderful book that will illuminate, provoke and delight professional scientists, philosophers and general readers alike.’, Damian Grace, Australian Book Review, 2003


6. ‘clinical precision and ... relentless good sense ... [a] thoughtful and wonderfully useful treatise’, Daniel N. Robinson, Philosophical Quarterly, 2004


7. ‘mandatory reading for anybody interested in neuroscience and consciousness research. The vast spectrum of material in philosophy and neuroscience that Bennett and Hacker consider is impressive and their discussion is thorough and illuminating.’ Axel Kohler, Human Nature Review, 2003


8. ‘a delicious cake of a book in which Bennett and Hacker guide the reader through a conceptual minefield of confusions repeatedly made by neuroscientists and philosophers alike.’ Constantine Sandis, Metapsychology 2003


9. ‘Anyone who has ever framed a theory or explained one should read this book ‑ at the risk of forever falling silent.’, The Rector, University of Sydney, Obiter Dicta 2003


10. ‘... impressively lucid ... Bennett and Hacker unquestionably succeed in making us challenge our own concepts, examine them for dross, and strive to home in on fundamentals.’ Neil Spurway, Journal of the European Soc for Study of Science and Theology.


11. ‘...the fruit of a unique cooperation between a neuroscientist and a philosopher ... an excellent book that should be read by all philosophers of cognition and all researchers in the cognitive neurosciences.’ Herman Philipse, ABG #2, De Academische Boekengids 2003

12. `...there are, I think, grounds for hope that this book will do an enormous amount of good, both in correcting philosophical confusion within neuroscience and in promoting a new style of dialogue between neuroscience and philosophy' David Cockburn, Philosophical Investigations, 2005

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