It is at least a working hypothesis that motivates further research more than the less ambitious search for correlations only. Accordingly, research has developed along the lines of looking more closely into specific areas for such explanatory reduction. One very positive development is that neuroscientists and philosophers often collaborate to study not only of vision and Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical pain but also
a wide spectrum of emotions,61 auditory sensation, olfaction,62 and other topics as well. Two final warning signs need to be heeded, however, concerning the two basic kinds of observation in this area: brain Sotrastaurin supplier activity measurements using certain instruments, and subjects’ reports about their qualia. First, there is a worry that studies Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical based on fMRI produce
correlations between brain activity measurements and mental state characteristics (such as anxiety, empathy, or distress) that are much higher than to be expected.63 Second, any research into the neuroscience of phenomenal consciousness has to deal with serious problems Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical of first-person reports. Whether there can be a science of consciousness depends on the old question of whether introspection is a legitimate and reliable method. These problems are serious. While being methodological in nature, one might properly describe them not as traps or gaps, but as breathtaking Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical abysses instead. There are extensive debates about them in philosophy and cognitive psychology that neuroscientists need to take onboard.42,59,64-69 Conclusion: the limits of skepticism What is interesting
is that much neuroscience of the mind has been provoked by skeptical philosophical arguments. However, as Immanuel Kant said, skeptics are like nomads, who abhor “permanent cultivation of the soil.” The chief function of skepticism is to sharpen our reasoning, and to avoid both dogmatism and naivety. Naivety here consists of an inference from statements about empirical correlations between brain states and qualia to Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical claims that the former reductively explain the latter. Dogmatism would be to assume that reductive ADAMTS5 physicalism must be true and defended, come what may. Skepticism is no position to ultimately hold either; it is not ultimately tenable or desirable. I have shown how many skeptical arguments suffer from serious weaknesses. In my view, we should view the advancement of the neuroscience of the mind as an arduous task that perhaps requires, as previous developments in science did, revisions of basic concepts and methodologies. Acknowledgments Many thanks to Michael Pauen, Achim Stephan, and two anonymous referees for various suggestions, and to Christopher Evans for linguistic assistance. Work on this article was supported by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Innovation, Reference number FFI 200801559/FISO.