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Centrum för kognitiv semiotik (CCS)

Humanistiska och teologiska fakulteterna | Lunds universitet

2012-02-23

Are Ascriptions of Intentionality to the Brain Incoherent?: The Mereological Argument Against Cognitive Neuroscience

Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen (Copenhagen Business School)

The ascriptions of ‘agency’ or ‘intentionality’ to the brain has long been regarded with suspicion from social scientists and philosophers. In the talk, I will argue that this suspicion is perfectly legitimate and that the standard response from the defenders of cognitive neuroscience is illegitimate – namely the response that such talk is technical (e.g. Ullman 1991), merely ‘metaphorical’(e.g. Blakemore 1990) or a flaw of ordinary language (e.g. Churchland&Churchland 1998).

In specific, I will discuss and present the – admittedly tentative – argument that the ascription of intentionality to the brain are conceptually incoherent because it commits a mereological fallacy (Bennett&Hacker 2001, 2007).

Thomas Presskorn-Thygesen (b. 1982) teaches philosophy of science, sociological method and theoretical linguistics at Copenhagen Business School.