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Neuroscience v Psychology

 
 
Reply Sat 24 May, 2008 10:20 am
It would seem that neuroscientist's, of the eliminativist variety, want to eliminate folk psychological terms from use. One neuroscientist used an example of how freud tried to explain why it is that we have dreams, but said that neuroscience was now much better equiped to answer such questions than psychology.

Will neuroscience replace pyschology, or will it just replace folk psychology, or will it replace both, or are they one and the same? If they are one and the same, then they will be replaced, eliminating psychology/
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,216 • Replies: 7
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boomerang
 
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Reply Sat 24 May, 2008 04:31 pm
I'm not sure what you mean by "folk psychology" and how it differs from regular psychology. Could you elaborate?

Neuroscience is certainly better equiped to explain the brain and its varity of functions and that helps us explain behavior and it can help regulate and change behavior with psychopharmacuticals.

Will we ever get to the point where people will regularly submit to whatever kind of chemical analysis is required to understand behavior so that they can get other chemicals to make them behave differently?

I don't know.

I kinda hope not.
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Shapeless
 
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Reply Sat 24 May, 2008 11:30 pm
Re: Neuroscience v Psychology
existential potential wrote:
Will neuroscience replace pyschology, or will it just replace folk psychology, or will it replace both, or are they one and the same?


To the extent that neuroscientists are concerned with the physiological aspects of the nervous system and cognition, neuroscience is quite different from Freudian psychology. The former attempts to provide some sort of empirical, observable basis to our understanding of consciousness, in contrast to the latter's irrefutable (hence unverifiable and often tautological) theories. A neuroscientist tries to provide explanation where Freud provided only rationalization.

On the other hand, not all neuroscientists are concerned primarily with physiology anymore. It's become a very broad field, and certain branches view themselves as compatible with and complementary to psychology. These days, the term "neuroscience" is about as vague as "science," so the answer to your question will change from neuroscientist to neuroscientist.
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existential potential
 
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Reply Sun 25 May, 2008 04:36 am
What I mean when I say "folk" psychology, is the everyday terms we use to describe ourselves and each other. Words like mind, feeling, moody, happy and so on. Eliminativists, believe that such terms, because they are inaccurate, should be replaced with a new vocabulary, as apposed to the mentalist vocabulary we are so familiar with.

If you do not know what eliminativism is, it is a reductivist theory, which holds that the mind, and the way we describe ourselves, can be reduced to talk of neural states in the brain.

For instance, when we say we are in pain, so the eliminativist holds, we seem to describe in such a way the it goes above and beyond what it ultimately it, that is a neural state.

This had radical consequences for our understanding of what it is to be a person. We all talk of a mental dimension to our lives, but eliminativists want to eliminate this way of understanding ourselves, in everyday situations. For example, beliefs will be completely eliminated, because they are not beliefs, they are just neural states.
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Cyracuz
 
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Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 07:46 am
Hmm...

I can only imagine the conversation....

"Hey. How are you"

"Well, the neurons around my frontal lobe aren't firing properly" (Meaning: Im feeling a bit sad today)

"Oh, my empathy neurons are responding." (Meaning: Oh, I'm sorry you're feeling sad)


Neuroscience can never replace psychology.
One is about the engine, so to speak, the other about the energy of the engine.
Repairing hardware in a computer will not fix a software problem.
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existential potential
 
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Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 09:53 am
Well that is exactly what some neuroscientists want to happen, they want to replace the common mentalist vocabulary we use to describe and understand ourselves and others.

The link below is, as you will see, an interview with Patricia Churchland, a Canadian-American philosopher. Patricia explains what neuroscience wants do to and why it is that they want to do it.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ce9I6BhXlrA
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demonicturtle
 
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Reply Mon 9 Jun, 2008 12:42 pm
existential potential wrote:
Well that is exactly what some neuroscientists want to happen, they want to replace the common mentalist vocabulary we use to describe and understand ourselves and others.

The link below is, as you will see, an interview with Patricia Churchland, a Canadian-American philosopher. Patricia explains what neuroscience wants do to and why it is that they want to do it.

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ce9I6BhXlrA


Who gives money to morons like this? Is it really necessary to coerce society into taking more pills to cure fictional chemical imbalances?

It's just blasphemy to screw with man's perception of will and love. People like that (particularly the ones that manage to be that influential) should be executed.
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firefly
 
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Reply Wed 11 Jun, 2008 04:34 pm
existential potential, you are confusing neuroscience with neurophilosphy.

Dr Churchland is a philosopher, with a particular interest in viewing philosophical issues in the context of neuroscientic findings.

This is what she says on her Web site:

Quote:
My research focuses on the interface between neuroscience and philosophy. Although many philosophers used to dismiss the relevance of neuroscience on grounds that what mattered was "the software, not the hardware", increasingly philosophers have come to recognize that understanding how the brain works is essential to understanding the mind.

I explore the impact of scientific developments on our understanding of consciousness, the self, free will, decision making, ethics, learning, and religion and issues concerning the neurobiological basis of consciousness, the self, and free will, as well as on more technical questions concerning to what degree the nervous system is hierarchically organized, how the difficult issue of co-ordination and timing is managed by nervous systems, and what are the mechanisms for the perceptual phenomenon of filling-in.

The central focus of my research has been the exploration and development of the hypothesis that the mind is the brain. My first book, Neurophilosophy (1986), argued in detail for a co-evolution of psychology, philosophy and neuroscience to answer questions about how the mind represents, reasons, decides and perceives. A major unanswered question in Neurophilosophy concerned the theoretical apparatus needed to bridge the gap between lower and higher levels of brain organization. I turned to this task in 1987, and began to collaborate with Terry Sejnowski on the book The Computational Brain (MIT 1992).


She does not talk about wanting to replace the "mentalist vocabulary" or the "folk psychology" terms which we commonly use to think about and describe ourselves. What she instead suggests, is that those terms might simply become obsolete or useless, in time, as we learn more about brain functions.

I'm not sure why you even ask:

Quote:
Will neuroscience replace pyschology, or will it just replace folk psychology, or will it replace both, or are they one and the same? If they are one and the same, then they will be replaced, eliminating psychology


I really think you do not understand what psychology is, otherwise you wouldn't ask these questions.

Psychology is a social science--it is the discipline which is devoted to the scientific study of behavior. It is not only compatible with neuroscience, it includes neuroscience--there are neuropsychologists. As neuroscience continues to evolve, psychology continues to evolve. One is not about to replace the other, they are not mutually exclusive. And neurophilosophy can embrace the findings of both psychology and neuroscience--as Churchland trys to do.

Models of personality development, or treatment of psychopathology, such as the psychoanalytic model of Freud, are only tangentially related to the scientific discipline of psychology. These are theories, not scientific evidence. This is not what Churchland is referring to when she speaks of "psychology". Theories evolve, and may fall by the wayside as new scientific evidence emerges within psychology.

I'm not sure it makes much difference to the average person whether they think they have "a mind" (the mentalist or folk psychology term) or whether they have only "a brain" (the neuroscientific or neuropsychological term). I suspect that these philosophical and linguistic differences mainly occupy academicians, and are of little concern to anyone else. In time, we all may well change how we understand, and conceptualize, and think about ourselves, but such changes will be gradual, and hardly cause for any alarm. And understanding ourselves in terms of our brain functions won't make us any less human than we are now.

If Churchland takes aim at anything, it is most likely religion. If we are only to be understood empirically, in terms of our brain functions, there is no "soul" to be found in the brain. When the brain dies, we die, and there is no metaphysical or spiritual component which will go on to exist in some sort of afterlife. While some might find this view to be unsettling, it is only one, of many areas, where religion and science may collide or ultimately prove to be incompatible.

I think Churchland does manage to raise some interesting philosophical questions about the nature of human responsibility, morality, and ethics, in light of neurological findings, but I can't say I find much else particularly earth-shattering or provocative in her remarks, and I listened to at least 6 of her videoclips on the link existential potential posted. I accept that I am a biological animal, and that what I think, and feel, and do, is, in fact, based in my brain. That I find indisputable. One has only to look at the effects of Alzheimer's disease, where "the person" slowly disappears as the brain is gradually destroyed, to appreciate just how fully we are little more than our brain functions. Some might find that notion disturbing. I don't.
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