Brain, Mind and Human Behavior in Contemporary Cognitive Science

Author: Coulter, Jeff and Wes Sharrock
Coulter, Jeff and Wes Sharrock
This book engages a range of currently debated issues in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, challenging certain cognitivist positions in contemporary neuroscience. In addressing each topic, an effort is made to illuminate the historical-philosophical origins of the problems confronted, exposing a central the way in which various forms of philosophical materialism are often uncritically invoked to buttress ‘scientific’ claims about the human mind/brain and behavior. The authors conclude that a radical reorientation is required if the confusion that permeates the field is to be eliminated.


“In this book, Jeff Coulter and Wes Sharrock have undertaken a series of conceptual investigations into some of the more dramatic claims made by contemporary cognitive neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, and theoretical linguists. It takes courage to resist the current, and skill to master it. Coulter and Sharrock have both. ... This is a controversial book. It will annoy those who have nailed their flag to the mast of cognitive science. It will rock the boat of intellectual complacency in sciences and putative sciences that are well known and very well advertised, yet anything but well-established. But its arguments must be confronted, and the case they make cannot be evaded. If Coulter and Sharrock are right, as I believe they are, then extensive rethinking is needed.” - Dr. P. M. S. Hacker, St. John’s College, Oxford

“This elegant and trenchantly argued book is a withering attack on the pretensions of neurophilosophy. This book must be read by all with an interest in current debates in philosophy of mind. Friend or foe of cognitivism alike cannot afford to ignore this important work.” - Dr. Dennis Patterson, Distinguished Professor of Law and Philosophy, Rutgers University

“[The authors of this book] set out with no less a goal than that of exposing the logical confusions that have inspired the ‘leading questions’ in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of psychology over the past half-century. But as important as is the contribution that they make to our thinking about these problems, perhaps the greatest service that [this book] performs is to neuroscience itself. By meticulously clarifying what sorts of questions can be empirically resolved and which lead us into the thickets of scientistic metaphysics, they demonstrate the critical role that philosophy has always played and must continue to play in the advance of science.” - Dr. Stuart Shanker, Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, York University, Canada

". . .I found its implicatations to be compelling: while cognitive neuroscience, packaged as neurophilosophy, may offer many possibilities to scientific and philosophical investigation, it does not seem to hold out much hope for an eventual understanding of what it is to be human."Dr. Keith Harris,Dept. of Behavior Health in San Bernardino County, California for Metapsychology Online Reviews

Table of Contents

Foreword by Dr. P.M.S. Hacker
1 Neural Metaphysics
2 Materialist Conceptions of Mind: A Reappraisal
3 Neural Causation and Freedom of Action
4 Consciousness: The Last Mystery?
5 Memory: Explaining Capacities versus Explaining Performances
6 Dissolving the ‘Projection Problem’
7 Fetishing ‘Syntax’