Journal Article

Saving Subtraction: A reply to Van Orden and Paap

Adina L. Roskies

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 61, issue 3, pages 635-665
Published in print September 2010 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2010 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjps/axp055
Saving Subtraction: A reply to Van Orden and Paap

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Van Orden and Paap argue that subtractive functional neuroimaging is fundamentally flawed, unfalsifiable, and cannot bear upon the nature of mind. In this they are mistaken, although their criticisms interestingly illuminate the scientific problems we confront in investigating the material basis of mind. Here, I consider the criticisms of Van Orden and Paap and discuss where they are mistaken and where justified. I then consider the picture of imaging science that Van Orden and Paap seem to espouse and sketch an alternative picture that is more realistic, more interesting, and consistent with the deliverances and the weaknesses of neuroimaging techniques. Finally, I identify three assumptions that I do think neuroimaging is wedded to and briefly discuss their implications.

Brief Introduction to Neuroimaging

Van Orden and Paap’s Criticisms

Goals and Methods of Interpretation

Van Orden and Paap’s Criticisms Addressed

4.1 The brain must be a feedforward system

4.2 Subtraction requires that task performance involves only the minimal set of brain areas necessary to perform it

4.3 We must start with a true theory

4.4 Modularity

A Fundamentally Flawed Picture?

Underdetermination and the Continuing Dialectic

A New Try at Governing Assumptions

Conclusion

Journal Article.  12944 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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