[Comp-neuro] Re: (3) A Matter of Religion
schwaber at mail.dbi.tju.edu
Thu Aug 21 23:43:06 CEST 2008
_(3) A Matter of Religion_
I am really struck by the forceful and repeated confessions of faith in
this thread: we are materialists with every fiber of our body, we are
certain the material world is well understood and the brain is part of
it, reductionistic accounts are in principle complete, determinism makes
freewill an illusion, and so on. My experience is that this faith is
universal among us neuroscientists, and to a somewhat lesser extent
biologists in general. We want to believe we are real scientists, just
like physicists, and will prove it by mechanistic reduction of behavior
and brain to physical-chemical levels.
It is my interesting experience that this faith is often not shared by
physical scientists and philosophers of science - that this kind of hard
reductionism/determinism may be passé, not considered a workable
approach. That is, a bottom-up, seamlessly mechanistic-deterministic
account of all of nature is typically not considered a reasonable goal
of science, e.g. given the limits we have hit in 20th century physics.
In this context, a local account of some mental or behavioral or
neuronal function in its own terms would be a success to the extent it
was predictive-useful, but never taken as complete or eternally true.
Obviously this is a matter of faith, of 'religion'. I wonder if the
faith of neuroscientists is inhibitory to how we consider how brain's work?
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the Comp-neuro