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Neuroscience - Essay Example

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The paper "Neuroscience" focuses on the conceptual foundation that is based on an incomplete theory of mind and brain: identity theory. This theory fails to capture essential human features and leaves psychotherapy a mysterious process. …
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Extract of sample "Neuroscience"

Download file to see previous pages Current philosophy of mind, both stimulated and rejuvenated by neuroscience research, is in fast pursuit of a comprehensive mind/brain theory. But as of now, no existing theory of mind is complete (LeDoux, 1995, Press). Neuroscience has a conceptual foundation that is based on an incomplete theory of mind and brain: identity theory. This theory fails to capture essential human features and leaves psychotherapy a mysterious process.
Identity theory was inspired by Wilder Penfield's dramatic neurosurgical research (Place, 1999, 45). In the late 1950s, Penfield directly stimulated the cortex of conscious patients undergoing brain surgery for epilepsy. His findings, based on the verbal reports of patients, demonstrated the exact location in the brain of certain mental functions. The highly-publicized motor homunculus that came out of his research pointed to an isomorphism between mental states and brain neuro processes. (Bechtel, 1998, 23) Identity theorists, then, advanced the straightforward proposal that mental terms and physical terms actually have the same referent--namely, a particular physical configuration of the brain.
Identity theory is modeled after other successful reduction theories in science. Consider the example of genes and chromosomes. Genes came from Mendel's research on inheritance, while chromosomes were discovered by cytological research. Chromosomes and genes were only later discovered to be identical, allowing gene theory to be reduced to chromosome theory. Other identity examples frequently cited include lightening to electricity, temperature to kinetic energy, and sound to the compression of air molecules (Rorty, 2001, 226). In each case, the original theory (lightening, temperature, sound) has been reduced to physical theory (electricity, kinetic energy, compression of air molecules). Identity theorists reduce the original theory of mind to the physical theory of the brain (Adolphs, 2004, Press).  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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