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Functional Neuroimages Fail to Discover Pieces of Mind in the Parts of the Brain

Guy C. Van Orden and Kenneth R. Paap
Philosophy of Science
Vol. 64, Supplement. Proceedings of the 1996 Biennial Meetings of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part II: Symposia Papers (Dec., 1997), pp. S85-S94
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/188392
Page Count: 10
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Functional Neuroimages Fail to Discover Pieces of Mind in the Parts of the Brain
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Abstract

The method of positron emission tomography (PET imaging) illustrates the circular logic popular in subtractive neuroimaging and linear reductive cognitive psychology. Both require that strictly feed-forward, modular, cognitive components exist, before the fact, to justify the inference of particular components from images (or other observables) after the fact. Also, both require a "true" componential theory of cognition and laboratory tasks, before the fact, to guarantee reliable choices for subtractive contrasts. None of these possibilities are likely. Consequently, linear reductive analysis has failed to yield general, reliable, componential accounts.

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