Brain Regions as Difference-Makers

When:14 Oct 2014, 12:30pm - 2pm
Venue:Morven Brown 310 (map ref C20)
Who:Colin Klein, Macquarie University
Colin Klein

Philosophy Seminar

It is common to speak of brain regions for particular cognitive functions: regions for reading, for seeing faces, or for doing math. This suggests that brain regions have a single function which they always and uniquely perform. Advances in neuroscience show that this simple picture cannot be correct. I suggest that we ought to instead read 'region for' as designating brain areas which make a difference to the performance of personal-level activities. I discuss how brain regions can have specific and systematic relationships to personal-level activities, and argue that this perspective lets neuroimaging indirectly constrain cognitive theories.

Colin Klein is Lecturer in the Philosophy department at Macquarie University. His research focuses on philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, especially where they intersect in philosophy of psychology. His current research projects include developing a manipulationist account of neuroimaging, defending an imperativist theory of pain, and defending various theses about reduction and representation in philosophy of psychology. Before coming to Macquarie, Colin was Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago; he received his PhD from Princeton University in 2007.

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