The field of cognitive imaging is explodingboth in terms of the amount of our scientificresources dedicated to it and the associatedpublication rate. However, all of this effortis based on a critical question – Do cognitivemodules exist? Both of the reviewers of my book(Uttal, 2001) and I agree that this questionhas not yet been satisfactorily answered and,depending on the ultimate answer, the cognitiveimaging approach as well as some other parts ofthe quest for mechanistic models of mind mightnot be successful. Our (...) views of how our scienceshould respond to this serious problem,however, are quite different. Both ProfessorBechtel and Lloyd argue for an optimisticattack on the problem of the localization ofcognitive processes in the brain based on thehistory of other sciences. I argue that arealistic appreciation of the limits of thisapproach should temper the enthusiasm for whatultimately will go the way of other attempts tounravel the mind-brain problem. (shrink)
Uttal has written 9 LEA titles over the past 25 yrs. The audience will be the same people who bought Uttal's past work, as well as people teaching courses in THEORY & METHODS of PSYCH.,those w/interests in THEORETICAL PSYCH & the HISTORY & PHILOSOPHY OF.
Directed to scholars and senior-level graduate students, this book is an iconoclastic survey of the history of dualism and its impact on contemporary cognitive psychology. It argues that much of modern cognitive or mentalist psychology is built upon a cryptodualism--the idea that the mind and brain can be thought of as independent entities. This dualism pervades so much of society that it covertly influences many aspects of modern science, particularly psychology. To support the argument, the history of dualism is extended (...) over 100,000 years--from the Paleolithic times until modern philosophical and psychological thinking. The questions regarding this topic that are answered in the book are: 1) Does dualism influence the scientific theories of psychology? 2) If so, should dualism be put aside in the search for a more objective analysis of human mentation? (shrink)
Gold & Stoljar are right in their thesis but incomplete in not pointing out that there are many other arguments from cognate sciences suggesting that a radical eliminativist neuroreductionism is unlikely to be achieved. The radical neuron doctrine they criticize is only a hoped for dogma that cannot be verified, whereas a constrained monistic materialism (with only partial reductionism) is subject to immediate test by applying such criteria as combinatorial complexity and thermodynamic irreversibility.
Pylyshyn circumvents an even more fundamental question: Are the mechanisms of visual perception accessible to the theoretician? Neurophysiology, computer modeling, and psychophysics, as well as his definitions of visual phenomena suggest that he has asked an unanswerable question.
The relation between mind and brain is one of the big scientific questions that has attracted scientists’ attention for centuries but also eluded their understanding. In this book, WilliamUttal provides a critical review of cognitive neuroscience, focusing on a specific question: What do the brain-imaging techniques developed in the last two decades or so—mostly functional magnetic resonance imaging and positron emission tomography —tell us about the brain-mind problem? His unambiguous and abrasive answer is: nothing.The book is organized (...) in nine chapters. The introductory chapter provides historical, methodological, and philosophical background. Importantly, it highlights a shift in the way neuroscientists think about modularity and localization. Traditionally, researchers using brain imaging have tended to subscribe to a strong view of modularity and localization, where distinct cognitive modules are assumed to be localized in well-defined regions of the brain. In the l .. (shrink)
During the past few decades a growing interest in what is often called the ‘Kyoto School’ of philosophy has evidenced itself here and there in the West, especially in discussions of comparative religious thought and in the pages of journals which are sensitive, in the post-colonial world, to the value of giving attention to contemporary thought that originates outside the Anglo-American and continental contexts. What has made the so-called Kyoto School especially interesting is the fact that those thinkers identified with (...) it obviously possess a wide acquaintance with Western thought but also have a programme of clarifying points at which they, as Japanese philosophers, find Western philosophy either in sum or in its parts inadequate or objectionable. Moreover, inasmuch as the philosophers of the Kyoto School have deliberately reached back into the Mahayana Buddhist component in Japanese civilization in order to find terms, perspectives, and even foundations for their own analyses and constructions, Western students of comparative religion and comparative thought have in the study of this school a unique aperture for observing how a group of thinkers, while sharing modernity and its problems with us, reates both of these to a religious tradition which is in many ways strikingly different from that of the West. (shrink)
WilliamUttal's The new phrenology is a broad attack on localization in cognitive neuroscience. He argues that even though the brain is a highly differentiated organ, "high level cognitive functions" should not be localized in specific brain regions. First, he argues that psychological processes are not well-defined. Second, he criticizes the methods used to localize psychological processes, including imaging technology: he argues that variation among individuals compromises localization, and that the statistical methods used to construct activation maps are (...) flawed. Neither criticism is compelling. First, as we illustrate, there are behavioral measures which offer at least weak constraints on psychological attribution. Second, though imaging does face methodological difficulties associated with variation among individuals, these are broadly acknowledged; moreover, his specific criticisms of the imaging work, and in particular of fMRI, misrepresent the methodology. In concluding, we suggest a way of framing the issues that might allow us to resolve differences between localizationist models and more distributed models empirically. (shrink)
I discuss John Henry Newman's correspondence with William Froude, F.R.S., (1810–79) and his family. Froude remained an unbeliever, and I argue that Newman's disputes with him about the ethics of belief and the relationship between religion and science not only reveal important aspects of his thought, but also anticipate modern discussions on foundationalism, the ethics of beliefs and scientism.