18.03.2013

The arrogant neuroscientist

This is an era of unquestioned belief in positive science and praise for physicalism in human's endeavor of understanding or explaining the human mind.
Claims to the indispensibility of interpretation have recently come to sound louder, though, most probably with the apparent lack of a meaningful question that can be answered by any method that physical sciences offer:
Such statements do not refer simply to what is regarded as a candidate for elimination, as, for instance, the phlogiston has been. The claim is to an ultimate irreducibility of subjective experience, arguing that human experience is more than a set of phenomena that will be eliminated one by one as the right methods are stumbled upon or established by trial and error or designed by brilliant scientists: Unlike, indeed, the phlogiston or Kepler's perfect geometry, both of which nicely exemplify the real residues of the mysticism that have lingered on during transition to experimental science.
Neuropsychoanalysis is, thus, a null expression, or at best a romantic wish for unity through negotiation. This is too good to be true because it targets reduction, not a process of back-and-forth translation. Psychoanalysis will continue to –literally– scare the arrogant neuroscientist who is unaware of or not interested in the epistemology of his own work or how tiny her contribution might be in future's larger perspective.

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