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Neurophilosophy or philosophy of neuroscience is the interdisciplinary study of neuroscience and philosophy. Work in this field is often separated into two distinct methods. The first method attempts to solve problems in philosophy of mind with empirical information from the neurosciences. The second method attempts to clarify neuroscientific results using the conceptual rigor and methods of philosophy of science.

Neurophilosophy explores the relevance of neuroscientific studies to arguments in philosophy of mind. Theories in neurophilosophy tend to stand in opposition to those of idealism and dualism, which seek to explain the mental with reference to minds and ideas, rather than the structure and function of the brain.[1]

The foremost proponents of neurophilosophy are Patricia and Paul Churchland[2].


Specific issues

Four issues that are characteristic to neurophilosophy are[3]:

  • "The indirectness of studies of mind and brain"
  • "Relations between psychological and neuroscientific inquiries"
  • "Modularity"
  • "Computational or representational analysis of brain processing"

List of Neurophilosophers


  1. ^ Clark, 2000
  2. ^ Bechtel, Mandik and Mundale, 2001, p.viii
  3. ^ Bechtel, Mandik and Mundale, 2001, citations: p.15, p.16, p.18, p.19

See also


  • Bechtel, W., Mandik, P., Mundale, J. (2001). Philosophy meets the neurosciences. In: Bechtel, W., Mandik, P., Mundale, J., & Stufflebeam, R. S. (2001). Philosophy and the Neurosciences. Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Clark, A. (2000). Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science. New York: Oxford University Press.

External links

Further reading

  • Churchland, Patricia Smith (2002). Brain-Wise : Studies in Neurophilosophy. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-53200-6. 
  • Churchland, Patricia Smith (1989). Neurophilosophy : Toward a Unified Science of the Mind-Brain. The MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-53085-9. 
  • Clark, Andy (2000). Mindware: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Cognitive Science. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195138573. 
  • Walter, Henrik (2001). Neurophilosophy of Free Will: From Libertarian Illusions to a Concept of Natural Autonomy. The MIT Press. ISBN 1-58811-417-1. 


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