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NeuromaniaOn the limits of brain science$
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Paolo Legrenzi and Carlo Umiltà

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199591343

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199591343.001.0001

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Paolo Legrenzi

Carlo Umiltà

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents some concluding thoughts. It addresses the question of why the addition of a neuroscientific component makes something credible when in fact it is not. It can be assumed that the power of conviction that the neuroscientific component exerts on non-experts is to be found in a functional, rather than a materialist, interpretation. In other words, what convinces is not so much the fact that a part of the brain is mentioned, but that the neuroscientific element provides the possibility of identifying the precise cause of the functioning or malfunctioning of a cognitive mechanism. Knowing which part of the brain is ‘responsible’ is key to understanding the cause of the cognitive phenomenon as well as the functioning of the brain itself. The process starts from the brain and proceeds to the mind, not vice versa. This approach to dealing with cognitive problems, starting from the brain, and hence from the body, not only overturns the philosophy of the 1960s (everything is cultural as it has been socially constructed) but also forms part of a wider movement which, according to the philosopher Giorgio Agamben, characterizes contemporaneity.

Keywords:   neuroscience, neuromaging, brain, cognitive mechanism, contemporaneity

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