The Neurological Fallacy

Pragmatics and Cognition 20 (3):429-446 (2012)

This non-article explores the limitations of applying brain science in “higher” disciplines. Many brain scientists believe that it is only a matter of time that everything human will be accounted for by the findings of brain science. Michael Polányi in the nineteen-sixties and recently Michael Gazzaniga argued against such determinism. They say that while “lower-level” processes constrain “higher-level” ones, they cannot determine them. The human mind is an emergent process, and it cannot be predicted from brain structure anymore than traffic can be predicted from the structure of a car. I claim that in many instances, the application of brain science in psychology and literary studies merely re-states in brain-language what has already been said in psychology-language or literature-language. It can, however, be fruitfully applied when it refutes prevalent erroneous assumptions or resolves certain incongruities in the domain of “higher” disciplines
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DOI 10.1075/pc.20.3.01tsu
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The Language of Thought.Charles E. Marks & Jerry A. Fodor - 1978 - Philosophical Review 87 (1):108.

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