Kantian Neuroscience and Radical Interpretation

In Festschfrift for Mark Platts (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This is an unedited version of a paper written in 2012 accepted for publication in a forthcoming Festschrift for Mark Platts. In it I argue that the Helmholtz/Bayes tradition of free energy neuroscience begun by Geoffrey Hinton and his colleagues, and now being carried forward by Karl Friston and his, can be seen as a fulfilment of the Quine/Davidson program of radical interpretation, and also of Quine’s conception of a naturalized epistemology. This program, in turn, is rooted in Helmholtz’s scientific reconception of Kant’s notion of a concept-led synthesis of affectations by an extra-sensory reality that creates human self-consciousness, a topic previously discussed in my (2012) Psychoanalysis, Representation, and Neuroscience. I also argue that 20th century analytical philosophy went astray when Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein ignored their legacy from Helmholtz and espoused a conception of perception and epistemology that he had already shown to be false.

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Jim Hopkins
University College London

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