After the Philosophy of Mind: Replacing Scholasticism with Science*

Anthony Chemero, Michael Silberstein
2008 Philosophy of Science  
We provide a taxonomy of the two most important debates in the philosophy of the cognitive and neural sciences. The first debate is over methodological individualism: is the object of the cognitive and neural sciences the brain, the whole animal, or the animal-environment system? The second is over explanatory style: should explanation in cognitive and neural science be reductionist-mechanistic, interlevel mechanistic, or dynamical? After setting out the debates, we discuss the ways in which
more » ... y are interconnected. Finally, we make some recommendations that we hope will help philosophers interested in the cognitive and neural sciences to avoid dead ends. Introduction. The philosophy of mind is over. The two main debates in the philosophy of mind over the last few decades about the essence of mental states (are they physical, functional, phenomenal, etc.) and over mental content have run their course. Positions have hardened; objections are repeated; theoretical filigrees are attached. These relatively armchair discussions are being replaced by empirically oriented debates in philosophy of the cognitive and neural sciences. We applaud this, and agree with Quine that "philosophy of science is philosophy enough" (1966, 149). The purpose of this paper is first to provide a guide to philosophy of mind's successor debates in philosophy of cognitive science, and second to suggest resolutions for some obvious potential conflicts so as to avoid the scholastic pitfalls that plagued philosophy of mind. We will discuss two not quite distinct debates: the first over the proper object of study for the psychological sciences; the second over the explanatory style of the cognitive and neural sciences. After describing the two debates and *
doi:10.1086/587820 fatcat:a57xqodpk5d4vdbbys4vlruhwe