Beyond free will

Some say that every time philosophy and neuroscience cross, philosophy wins. The usual reason cited for this? Naive and unsophisticated use of concepts and the language to express them within neuroscience. Prime exhibit is the mereological fallacy – the confusion of the part with the whole (by definition, people see, not the eye or the brain). And yes, all too many scientists are entirely uneducated, but “winning” might be a function of letting philosophy pick the battleground – language – which philosophy has privileged for over 2500 years (if for no other reason than lack of empirical methods, initially). There is no question that all fields are in need of greater conceptual clarity, but what can one expect from getting into fights with people who write just the introduction and discussion section, then call it a paper and have – unburdened by the need to run studies or raise money to do so – an abundance of time on their hands? Yet, reality might be unmoved by such social games. It needs to be interrogated until it confesses – empirically. There are no shortcuts. Particularly if the subject is as thorny as free will or consciousness. See here for the video.

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One Response to Beyond free will

  1. Peter DO Smith says:

    It[reality] needs to be interrogated until it confesses – empirically

    I love the crisp, incisive way you put it.

    Some say that every time philosophy and neuroscience cross, philosophy wins

    I agree.

    but “winning” might be a function of letting philosophy pick the battleground – language

    Language is the only tool we have for examining the interiour stage we call the mind. Consequently they have chosen the right battleground. But nevertheless you make a good point.

    what can one expect from getting into fights with people who write just the introduction and discussion section, then call it a paper

    Nicely expressed but wrong. That is because because you refuse to consider language as empirical evidence.

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