Concepts of localization: Balkanization in the brain [Book Review]

Brain and Mind 3 (3):313-30 (2002)
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Abstract

A spate of recent anti-localizationist publications have re-ignited the old debate about the localization of function. Many of the recent attacks on localization, however, are directed at what I will argue to be a narrow and outmoded view of localization, and thus have little conceptual or empirical impact. What I hope to present here is an analysis of functional localization that more adequately reflects the sophistication and complexity of its use in neuroscientific research, both historically and recently. Proceeding first by way of contrast, I examine theanti-localizationist positions of holism andequipotentiationism. Then, I present a four-fold analysis of localization according to physical scope, physical kind, functional scope, and functional kind. Next, I turn to a discussion of the heuristic value oflocalization in deciphering structure-functionrelationships. Finally, I hope to show that the overall view of functional localization that emerges from these considerations constitutes a much more elusive target than its critics assume. It serves to mitigate, and insome instances even defeat, some forms ofanti-localizationist criticisms

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Jennifer Mundale
University of Central Florida