Giacomo Zanotti

Between the metaphysics and the neuroscience of consciousness

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: mind-body problem, neuroscience of consciousness, neural correlates of consciousness; underdetermination

The study of consciousness has long been regarded as a prerogative of philosophers. However, in the last thirty years, neuroscience has made impressive advancements in the search for the neural basis of conscious phenomena. This created a fertile ground for the assumption that brain science should play a role in the attempt to solve the mind-body problem. Here, I aim at calling into question this assumption. After briefly presenting the mind-body problem and the main views about the nature of consciousness, I will focus on the fact that some prominent theories in the neuroscience of consciousness include explicit metaphysical claims about what consciousness is. I will argue that there is a problematic tension between this metaphysical turn in neuroscience and the fact that the mind-body problem is underdetermined by evidence. To ease this tension, I will contend that the mind-body problem is largely irrelevant from an empirical point of view, and I will advocate the need for a strong division of labour between the neuroscience and the metaphysics of consciousness

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