There’s been some interesting bloggin’ on brain hate recently. Some notable entries:
There’s discussion here of some of Max Coltheart’s complaints about cognitive neuroscience. Quoted from p. 22 of Coltheart, M. (2004) (Brain imaging, connectionism and cognitive neuropsychology. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 2, 21-25.) is the following:
No amount of knowledge about the hardware of a computer will tell you anything serious about the nature of the software that the computer runs. In the same way, no facts about the activity of the brain could be used to confirm or refute some information-processing model of cognition.
Re: “The seductive allure of neuroscience explanations” by Deena Skolnick Weisberg*, Frank C. Keil, Joshua Goodstein, Elizabeth Rawson,
& Jeremy R. Gray, there’s very nice discussion to be found here and here. Link to draft here.
From the article’s abstract:
Even irrelevant neuroscience information in an explanation of a psychological phenomenon may interfere with peopleâ€™s abilities to critically consider the underlying logic of this explanation. We tested this hypothesis by giving naiÌˆve adults, students in a neuroscience course, and neuroscience experts brief descriptions of psychological phenomena followed by one of four types of explanation, according to a 2 (good explanation vs. bad explanation) x 2 (without neuroscience vs. with neuroscience) design. Crucially, the neuroscience information was irrelevant to the logic of the explanation, as confirmed by the expert subjects. Subjects in all three groups judged good explanations as more satisfying than bad ones. But subjects in the two non-expert groups additionally judged that explanations with logically irrelevant neuroscience information were more satisfying than explanations without. The neuroscience information had a particularly striking effect on non-expertsâ€™ judgments of bad explanations, masking otherwise salient problems in these explanations.