I see Patricia Churchland still has some acolytes among the neuroscience crowd. The cognitive reductionists already lost this fight over 15 years ago when Bennet and Hacker published the classic Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience. In it they showed in example after example how a logical fallacy, the mereological fallacy, had crept into the very heart of cognitive neuroscience, and by extension the entire reductionist program in neuroscience. A philosophical position based on a logical fallacy cannot stand, and until someone shows that they were wrong in their analysis (none have yet), reductionism in neuroscience is dead in the water.

To suggest that consciousness cannot be modeled or reduced to totally knowable empirical principles does not imply a soul, or a mystical force, or emergence, or any such nonsense. It is simply a recognition of the complexity of the phenomenon, and it puts a hard limit on what can be predicted/modeled by science. It does not put a any limit on what can be known by science contrary to what some have suggested. Just because a system is not predictable or unable to be modeled does not necessarily imply that it cannot be completely known or fully described. In any case we are a very, very long ways from saying that consciousness or even the brain is totally known and/or completely described so we are even further away from having to worry about the problem of modeling its/their behavior.

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Research scientist (Ph.D. micro/mol biology), Thought middle manager, Everyday junglist, Selecta (Ret.), Boulderer, Cat lover, Fish hater

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