ERIC Number: EJ893130
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 28
Brains in Jars: The Problem of Language in Neuroscientific Research
Scott, Jessica A.; Curran, Christopher M.
Mind, Brain, and Education, v4 n3 p149-155 Sep 2010
Neuroscience is a rapidly expanding scientific field, and its influence on our perceptions of fundamental aspects of human life is becoming widespread, particularly in the social and behavioral sciences. This influence has many philosophical implications, only one of which will be addressed in this article. For many centuries, philosophers have grappled with the myriad problems presented by consciousness, not the least of which is the so-called "mind-body problem"; now, the gains made in the field of neuroscience promise to answer questions that have been traditionally unanswerable. The richness of neuroscientific data notwithstanding, there are still fundamental philosophical problems in play. This article seeks to answer the question: How do neuroscientists and articles drawing primarily on neuroscience use language to characterize the brain and the mind? Is the same terminology and language used interchangeably, suggesting that the mind and the brain are inherently the same, or does this influential field draw distinctions between the two? We argue that neuroscientific research uses language in a way that does not acknowledge the potential philosophical objections to a mind-brain identity thesis. By doing this, neuroscientific research does not acknowledge the historically problematic discourse about consciousness.
Descriptors: Learning Theories, Brain, Research, Neuropsychology, Cognitive Psychology, Neurolinguistics, Behavioral Sciences
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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