Brain and Mind

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 229-242

First online:

Decomposing the Mind-Brain: A Long-Term Pursuit

  • William BechtelAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, University of California, San Diego

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This paper defends cognitive neuroscience's project of developingmechanistic explanations of cognitive processes through decompositionand localization against objections raised by William Uttal inThe New Phrenology. The key issue between Uttal and researcherspursuing cognitive neuroscience is that Uttal bets against thepossibility of decomposing mental operations into component elementaryoperations which are localized in distinct brain regions. The paperargues that it is through advancing and revising what are likely tobe overly simplistic and incorrect decompositions that the goals ofcognitive neuroscience are likely to be achieved.

cognitive neuroscience decomposition localization