Discursive deep structure and philosophy of mind: a critique of Patricia Churchland's neurophilosophy
Patricia Churchland is a professor at the University of California and is a philosopher and cognitive scientist with special knowledge of the neurosciences. Neuroscience in her opinion is relevant to solving the problems posed by philosophy in the field of the mind/body problem. This has given rise to the creation of neurophilosophy, a new sub-discipline in philosophy. Patricia Churchland has a fixed direction in her agenda that is directed at proving that the mind is nothing but neurological activity. Neuroscience in her opinion will in the long run solve the mind/body problem and at the same time eliminate folk psychology. The basic theme in her thought is that there is no non-physical mind but that mind must be explained on the basis of physical activity. She employs the notion of neural activity as foundational to the mental activity of the brain that is then responsible for the mind. The problem of how neurological activity can give rise to the non-physical mind (thought, reason, and so forth) remains however unanswered. Although her work has caused widespread commentary, critical evaluation on deeper levels has not received the attention it warrants. The following study is an attempt in this regard. For this purpose I have used the following philosophical tools: ideology analysis, metaphor analysis and analysis of “key formulas” (logosemantic analysis). The result of this analysis points to a one-sidedness in Patricia Churchland’s approach to the mind/body problem, while neuroscience and eliminative materialism is pushed to its limits. In this study the abovementioned tool-analysed results have also been compared to the views of other well-known thinkers in the field. Lastly I have included some of my own ideas on future prospects for research on mind and consciousness.